BY JOHN O’LEARY
THIS Monday will see Barryroe honour a wonderful clubman as the Gaelic Grounds will be renamed in honour of Paddy Murphy.
Paddy, born and reared in the blue and navy of Barryroe, was a man who was not only part of the history of Barryroe, but created much of that history. Every parish in Ireland has its characters, its heroes and its legends and in Paddy Murphy, Barryroe had all three rolled into one.
Barryroe is defined by three main bodies – the local primary school, the co-operative and the GAA club. All of Paddy’s family attended Barryroe NS, for 49 years he worked in Barryroe Co-op and in 1965 – ‘on a temporary basis’ – he assumed the role of secretary of the local club and he gave an exemplary 51 years of unbroken service.
It was through the GAA that Paddy became one of the most recognised and well-known characters in West Cork and beyond. His contribution to the association in Cork, Carbery and, especially, in Barryroe was not only long and memorable but was an inspiration to all who knew him.
Paddy’s ready smile and quick wit were legendary. Small in stature but huge of character, Paddy was a man you enjoyed as a friend, a companion or just to spin a few yarns.
The highs and lows of Paddy’s tenure were many, but the first minor hurling club success of 1968, when Barryroe won the Carbery B championship, was always a proud recollection. Several more titles came to the club over the intervening decades and the pinnacle achievement was the winning of the county JAHC in 2007.
The formation of a camogie division was also proposed by Paddy and the fruits of his endeavours have been harvested many times since foundation. Despite all of the success on the playing pitches, Paddy got his greatest satisfaction from the physical developments in the club, which he also oversaw as chairman of the development committee, from the purchase of the playing field in 1973 to the wonderful facilities the club boasts today.
Paddy is sorely missed in Barryroe and in GAA circles in West Cork and beyond but his legacy will forever remain after him. As long as young men, and women, strike a sliotar, kick a ball or enjoy the fine facilities of Páirc Uí Mhurchú, Paddy Murphy will never be forgotten.
Formalities commence at 5pm on bank holiday Monday and all are welcome to attend, with refreshments served afterwards.