All-rounder Paddy Kilmurray masters rugby

A STATE welterweight boxing title, Kings first XV, North Sydney Bears Jersey Flegg rugby league side, Marian University cycling team, Coolangatta Gold, NSW Country Cockatoos – it’s a bucket list to make any aspiring sportsman envious.

And Paddy Kilmurray hasn’t finished yet.

The 25-year-old Hamilton centre intends to add a first grade premiership to his resume by the end of the year.

Given his achievements to date, who would doubt him?

Kilmurray returned to rugby midway through last season after a five-year hiatus.

Most of his time away was spent with his backside on a bicycle seat.

He took to cycling in 2007 after his rugby league career at the Bears was stalled due to osteitis pubis.

Within six months, Kilmurray was competing in A-grade in Sydney and earned a trip to the US to race where he did enough to earn a scholarship at Marian University in Indianapolis. The cycling squad raced on the road and track.

Most weeks he was churning out 600kilometres to 700km in training.

‘‘The road season started in spring, and in fall you did the track,’’ he said.

‘‘I was more inclined to track because of my body shape.

‘‘The first six months I was bluffing a bit.

‘‘I wasn’t as good as the others on the team and rode on their shirt tails for a while, but we won national title in team pursuit in my first year.’’

Kilmurray studied communication at Marian but became homesick after two years and returned to Newcastle.

‘‘My intention was to race for another six months,’’ he said.

‘‘I won the 1000m time trial at the state titles and after that I hung the bike up.

‘‘I was done with cycling and wanted to get back into uni and finish my degree.

‘‘The bike is in pieces in the garage.

‘‘I never really loved the sport. I did it because I wanted it to get me somewhere.

‘‘Having said that I loved America and everything I did at college.’’

A champion boxer in his mid-teens, Kilmurray’s true love has always been rugby.

But before returning, he made a foray into surf lifesaving, competing in the 2010 Coolangatta Gold, the iconic 42.7-kilometre test of endurance, for good measure.

The rugby fire was ignited after he watched Hamilton beat Maitland in the 2010 grand final.

‘‘I got itchy feet then but it wasn’t until halfway through 2011 that I decided to pull the boots on again,’’ he said.

He had one game in third grade, two in seconds and has been in first grade since.

An outside-centre at school, Kilmurray played on the wing in the Hawks’ grand final loss to Merewether last year and was subsequently selected on the flank for Newcastle and NSW Country.

His rapid progression has come as no surprise to Hamilton and Newcastle coach Scott Coleman.

‘‘He is a natural and picks things up very quickly,’’ Coleman said.

‘‘He obviously had a background in the sport, which helped.

‘‘The more information you give him, the more info he takes on board and backs himself.’’

Kilmurray has moved closer to the action at inside-centre this year, a role he is relishing.

‘‘He has great footwork, good leg drive and can catch and pass,’’ Coleman said.

‘‘He also gives us a left-foot kicking option.’’

Currently combining study with part-time work at NBN Television, Kilmurray is unsure of what is next, but he does not envisage taking up any new sporting pursuits.

‘‘Once I have finished rugby I don’ t think there is anything else I’ll do,’’ he said.

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