Proud parents' memories of a truly fabulous London 2012 experience
The Irish flags are flying proudly outside the house belonging to Joe and Netta Murphy, just outside Ballymore, and the calls of congratulations still coming in the wake of their son Joseph's performance with the Team Ireland Eventers at the Olympics.The couple are still on a high from the whole experience - but are amused at the fact that for Joseph himself, one of the highlights was getting to shake hands with Usain Bolt during the opening ceremony."We didn't know for sure until the Wednesday before the Olympics that he was on the team," says Netta, with husband Joe pointing out that they had had their hopes since May when the shortlist of potential team members was reduced from 12 to 10.As soon as it was confirmed, the couple knew there was one place they were going to be when Joseph represented his country, and that was Greenwich, so at the opening competition of the games, the dressage, they were in the stand - just yards from the British royal family - watching their son in action."The stand held 25,000 people, and it was amazing: for the dressage, there was total silence from the crowd. They just froze and made not a sound as the horses competed," says Netta.But if there was one note of disappointment for the two, it is the fact that so little tv coverage was afforded the rest of the eventing disciplines, the cross country and the showjumping competitions.They were especially conscious of this as they had tickets solely for the dressage."But they had this Irish pub nearby and we went there and a lot of Joseph's supporters were gathered there," says Netta.There were plenty of supporters over there from this area to cheer on Joseph - Tanya Murphy, Liam and Dympna Higgins (Glasson), Dot Love, Charlotte Walsh, Irene Neale, Helen and Vivienne urtagh."The Murtaghs had tickets for the cross country: they had booked them two years earlier, and said they just knew Joseph would be there," Netta reveals.The two are full of praise for the organisation of the games, for the stewards and volunteers - and for the warmth of the welcome they encountered everywhere they went."The stewards and volunteers were definitely amazing. They were 100 per cent. And everyone over there that saw us with a flag came over to talk to us," says NettaOf course Joe and Netta's excitement was more than matched by that of Joseph's siblings, including his twin brother, Ciaran, who is a national hunt jockey; Noel, formerly of the Westmeath Hunt; Aaron, a point to point jockey, and sister Majella - the only member of the family who doesn't work with horses.