Kilkenny hurler Eoin Murphy believes that the position of goalkeeper has undergone a major transformation in recent years.
Murphy has won four All-Ireland titles and six Leinster crowns with the Cats since being called up to the senior side in 2011.
While he generally plays as goalkeeper, Murphy also has plenty of experience playing in outfield roles. He lined out at centre-back for Waterford IT [WIT], captaining the side that won the Fitzgibbon Cup in 2014.
His outfield credentials make him a valuable asset to his county; his control and comfort on the ball allow him to join the back-line as an extra player when required.
Murphy explained that his role with Kilkenny reflects the general trend with goalkeepers across hurling.
Speaking to OTB Sports, Murphy detailed the aspects which he believes help his unique approach to goalkeeping.
"I always found that I was really comfortable on the ball anyway, because of my playing days out the field with Glenmore, and when I was in WIT," Murphy said.
"If you're used to being on the ball - and showing for the ball, in particular - it's an extra outlet for the backs. If you can retain possession, primary possession, that's half the battle - the other team then have to work twice as hard to get it back."
Murphy: "Quaid has been one of the best goalkeepers for many years"
"That's the way teams are playing now."
"I think Limerick have also redefined the possession game, in comparison to the Cork team of the early-mid 00's," Murphy added. "That was more of a hand-passing and running game. Limerick are very similar, but [with them], it's 30 to 40-yard drilled passes."
"Nicky Quaid has been one of the best goalkeepers for I don't know how many years. He probably didn't get the recognition he deserved at that time, because Limerick weren't winning Munsters or All-Irelands at that stage. He's getting his dues now, absolutely."
"When teams come up against Limerick, there's obviously a couple of key players you have to pinpoint and have a game plan to counteract them; Nicky is certainly one of them."
"I feel it's the best shape I've ever been in"
Murphy also outlined the factors that have helped to stay at the top of the game and continue to improve.
"Everyone's knowledge of strength and conditioning now has allowed me to stay in what I feel is the best shape I've ever been in - even in my mid-20's," he remarked. "I know what works for my body now."
"Mickey Comerford has come in the last few years and introduced a few more things to your strength and conditioning programmes and your off-season programmes - that helps hugely."
"There are things that you do in the off-season and between sessions as part of your gym programmes - that adds something to it."
"In training, I'd be constantly working with Darren Brennan and James McGarry", Murphy added. "You try to go through drills that are like in-game scenarios, but there's only so much you can replicate in that regard. You about you guessing in that split-second, and sometimes you guess correctly."
"It's small margins. You take a penalty from some of the top players, and they're taking a shot from 21 yards out. I can try to read Aaron Gillane's shot, or Patrick Horgan's, or whoever it may be. If he throws half a dummy and you go the other side, you look like a fool. But if you guess the right way, you're a genius."
Avonmore Protein Milk are teaming up with Dublin footballer Brian Fenton and Kilkenny hurler Eoin Murphy to launch the new Avonmore Pro-Oats products.
Fenton and Murphy, who have nine All-Ireland Championship medals between them, are representing the Gaelic Players Association, of whom, along with the GAA, Avonmore Protein Milk are a longstanding supporter.