‘Paddy was a hero to us all'

August 14th, 2018 5:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

The Murphy family at the unveiling at Páirc Uí Mhurchú, home of Barryroe GAA Club; from left, Padraig, Sinead, Ann and Richard. (Photo: Martin Walsh)

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Barryroe's home ground now called Páirc Uí Mhurchú

Barryroe’s home ground now called Páirc Uí Mhurchú




IT was fitting that the sun glistened at Barryroe at the renaming ceremony of the local club’s GAA complex as Páirc Uí Mhurchú – in honour of the late Paddy Murphy. 

Throughout what was an emotional ceremony, various speakers extolled his qualities.  

Secretary of Barryroe GAA club for some 51 years, Paddy shone like a beacon within and outside his beloved Barryroe. He integrated his own family and the GAA family and his own home in Lislevane and his second home, the Barryroe pitch, with tangible degrees of care, kindness, diligence and within the GAA, a remarkable ability to solve problems.  

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Paddy’s wife Ann along with the secretary of the Cork County Board, Frank Murphy, unveiled a plaque to mark the re-naming of the grounds.  

At the outset, master of ceremonies Vincent O’Donovan welcomed all present including the Murphy family – Paddy’s wife Ann and their siblings Richard, Sinead, Padraig and their extended families; members of the clergy, Fr Dave O’Connell, P.P., who blessed the grounds, Canon George Murphy, Fr. Eddie Collins and Fr. John Collins along with John Joe Fleming and his wife Barbara, who flew back from Boston, while Paddy’s niece and Southern Star columnist Jennifer O’Leary made the journey from Armagh.  Several top ranking Cork and West Cork GAA officials including Barryroe GAA president Vincent Sexton were also present.   

In his introduction, Vincent said, ‘Paddy was a hero to us all. As you all know, there were three great loves in Paddy’s life – the parish of Barryroe, the school in Lislevane and Barryroe GAA club. It is a great honour for us to name this pitch after him.’

Detailing Paddy’s GAA career, Sean de Barra, chairperson of the Barryroe club, said, ‘On this very auspicious occasion it is well to remember that Paddy gave over 50 years of service to the GAA club here in Barryroe. Paddy became secretary in 1965 when Joe O’Sullivan left the parish to take up a post in Cork.’  

Sean told of the time Paddy and himself met with Harry O’Neill and of the desire to get a sports field that the youth of the parish deserved.  

Indeed, that was the catalyst and eventually led to the purchase of the grounds in 1972.  Sean commented on Paddy’s retirement as club secretary a few short years ago when he (Paddy) mentioned the late Timmy O’Brien, the late Miah Sexton, John O’Brien and Michael Santry, all of whom gave dedicated service to the grounds.   

Joe Crowley, chairperson of the Carbery GAA, remarked, ‘People like the late Paddy Murphy are very rare and you will travel a long way to find a person that has served any organisation for 51 years, it’s an unbelievable achievement. Paddy was one of nature’s real gentlemen.’

Prior to the unveiling, Frank Murphy stated, ‘I speak of a loyal friend from schoolboy days when we both attended Colaiste Na Mhumhain in Béal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh as teenagers.  We both had a great interest in Gaelic Games and we both became secretaries of our respective clubs. The strength of the GAA is based on the magnificent voluntary community service of its members through the promotion of the national games and culture.’ 

He added, ‘People have continued to stand out as leaders on every part of this island, Paddy Murphy was one such outstanding man as he provided the Barryroe club with distinguished service as a most dedicated secretary for 51 years.  

‘The vibrancy and success of the Barryroe club can largely be attributed to Paddy’s sterling service. Paddy was the beacon, he was the leader, ultra efficient, he was one truly great person.’

In response, Richard Murphy, on behalf of the family, thanked all involved in preparing for the ceremony and also thanked John Fleming, a good friend of Paddy Murphy, who was unavoidably absent and was the person that came up with the idea of renaming the grounds. 

‘The Murphy family are truly humbled by this magnificent gesture.’

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