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Annalise Murphy named Sportswoman of the Month for August

The sailor’s public recognition levels have soared, but the silver medallist keeps on an even keel

Annalise Murphy: “Every morning I wake up, I feel like I just dreamt about it”. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

You’d be reluctant enough to dial Annalise Murphy’s number for fear you’d disturb her, the assumption being that she’s relaxing on a beach in some far flung location, recovering from the most manically hectic period of her life.

But no, she’s in Dún Laoghaire, about to hit the water again, this time in a vessel she tells us is called a moth, and not the Laser in which she produced the most memorable of Rio moments.

“I tell people the Laser is my day job,” she says, “and the moth is my hobby.”

The ultimate busman’s holiday, then. A month on and she’s still taking it all in.

Second Captains

“Every morning I wake up, I feel like I just dreamt about it. I really don’t know how it happened,” she says, “it still doesn’t feel real.”

If she’s ever in doubt, though, there’s that shiny object in her possession to remind her that it wasn’t, in fact, a dream, her silver medal spending much of the past four weeks in the boot of her car as she transported it to a myriad of receptions celebrating her achievement.

Life changed

And life has changed utterly. “It takes way longer to do everything,” she laughs, one of her greatest challenges since returning home growing accustomed to being recognised wherever she goes. “I was meeting friends at the club [Dún Laoghaire’s National Yacht Club] the other day. I parked the car and it would usually take me three minutes to walk up. It took 15 with people stopping me to congratulate me. It’s lovely. Mind you, my picture is hanging from the side of the club, so I suppose it’s hard not recognise me.”

“But the reaction has been amazing. I met some people who were in Mayo at the time of my medal race. They had no television where they were that day, so were thrilled when the race was postponed because they’d be able to see it the next day. It’s just funny to hear those stories, how much people got into it. The support was just so fantastic.”

A couple of weeks back she posted a photo on her Facebook account of a letter she’d received. “An Post doing a fine job getting mail to me with limited info”, she said, the address simply reading: “Annalise Murphy, Olympic Silver Medallist, Rio Olympics 2016, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14”.

“And there have been so many letters and cards, to my home and the club. The stranger ones have been from Germany – nine so far, I think. They include a photo of me and a request that I autograph it and send it back using the enclosed stamped addressed envelope.”

What’s with you and Germany? “I have no idea,” she laughs. “Are they big collectors of these kind of things there? I’ll have to look in to it. At first I was honoured, by the ninth I was ... okay.”

And with that she’s off sailing again. And there’s nowhere she’d rather be.