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Murphy is hailed as ‘one of Cork’s greatest GAA men’

November 29th, 2022 9:00 AM

By Southern Star Team

Dominic Murphy receives a specially commissioned medal marking the centenary of the birth of the late Con Murphy, former GAA President, from Myles Barry, South East GAA Chairman. (Photo: Howard Crowdy)

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BY JJ HURLEY

A COLOSSUS of the GAA, the late Con Murphy was fittingly remembered on the centenary of his birth in Innishannon.

Organised by Carrigdhoun GAA, board chairman Myles Barry paid a warm tribute to the Valley Rovers native, having placed a wreath on his final resting place in the grounds of St Mary's Church.

'We are all gathered for one reason only, and that is to show our genuine respect for one of Cork's greatest GAA men ever, Concubhair Ó Murchu,' Barry said.

Born on October 28th 1922, at Toureen, to parents Dan and Julia, Con was one of seven children. His mother's influence, a McCarthy from the neighbouring townland of Upton, brought a life-long interest in the GAA. Her brother, Sean, would secure the presidency of the GAA and her brother Paddy would become the first chairman of Con's beloved Valley Rovers.

Indeed, Con's youngest brother Dominic, who was joined at the recent ceremony by Con's sons, Noel and Brendan and his daughters, Maura and Aine, remarked how his mother retained the skill to drive a sliotar well into her 70s.

It was a skill her son Con had inherited throughout his playing career. It had seen him amass nearly every honour in the game, from divisional titles, Harty Cup success with the North Monastery School, Railway Cup victories and four Celtic crosses in Cork's golden era of the 1940s.

However, former chairman of the Carrigdhoun board, John Twomey, said Con had told him his only regret on the playing field was not picking up a senior county medal with the division.

Losing out to Glen Rovers in 1945, Con told John he would have traded an All-Ireland medal for the honour.

Of course, his heart was always in Carrigdhoun, particularly Valley Rovers, with his son Brendan acknowledging the South East Board presenting the Concubhair Ó Murchú Cup each year for the Junior A Hurling Championship in his memory.

His journey to the GAA’s top echelons began in his teenage years with the Carrigdhoun board before he progressed to the county board, in roles as vice chairman, treasurer and eventually secretary.

In 1976, he was elevated to President of the GAA, completing a unique record as a player, official and referee, officiating at two All-Ireland finals in 1948 and 1950 .

For many, his advice was invaluable as he sought to promote the games nationwide.

Bride Rovers' John Arnold, who delivered a poignant version of the ballad of Carrigdhoun at his grave, said, 'He didn't differentiate in giving his advice. He treated every club the same. He was years ahead of his time and was always encouraging.'

They were sentiments echoed by John Twomey, who said, 'He had a considerable influence on clubs and individuals and certainly helped them along the way.'

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