One Of the Longest Serving Club Secretaries In Ireland
The Gaelic Athletic Association is a magnet for thousands of Irish men and women who simply live, sleep and accept, that their lives are greatly enriched by their participation in the association at grassroots levels.
Some persons become involved because their families have always had an allegiance to the G.A.A. and maintaining that link and tradition, is so essential to their daily lives. There are exceptions to every rule and family tradition may not always be the main influence. On a recent trip to west Cork, I found myself in the village of Lislevane, in the parish of Barryroe and whilst in the company of Ger O’Brien, proprietor of The Grange Tavern. I posed a question to Ger, seeking to establish who was Mr. G.A.A. in the Barryroe club. Without pause, he said there can be only one candidate - Paddy Murphy, our long serving club secretary. I further asked would he be a candidate for our Champion Gaelic Games Volunteers website and the reply was, unquestionably - yes.
Paddy Murphy, born and reared in the blue and white mould of Barryroe, is a club secretary apart, from thousands of many more G.A.A. club secretaries. With 45 years of unbroken service, since he first became secretary in 1965, at just 17 years old, Paddy must be in contention for the title of The Longest Serving G.A.A. club secretary in the history of gaelic games. And he is still in the prime of his G.A.A. life in 2010 and prepared to break his own record as the years tumble onwards.
This extremely popular Barryroe official has overseen the development of his club from playing matches in a rented field in the 1960s, to the acquisition by the club of a truly magnificent modern complex. In 1965, without a pitch of their own, Paddy Murphy and his colleagues, took giant steps to secure a permanent home for their beloved Barryroe club. As the club administrator, the tasks of raising the capital for the purchase of land in 1973, became a formidable project that required great enthusiasm from all involved. The 25 year old secretary in 1973, is credited by the local community as a source of great inspiration at that time, and the current complex, in all its splendour, will live as a testimony to Paddy Murphy’s commitment to his native parish of Barryroe. As a teenager, playing hurling and football every week, was a way of life for Paddy and in 1966, when Barryroe had no under age teams, Paddy joined forces with the Newcestown minor gaels and wore the red and yellow of the famed club, along with two more Barryroe colleagues. And for good measure he was also the Barryroe club secretary at the same time.
The highs and lows of Paddy’s tenure were many, but the first minor hurling club success of 1968, when Barryroe won the ‘B’ Carbery Championship, is a proud recollection. Several more titles came to the club over the intervening decades and the pinnacle achievement for the renowned secretary, was the winning of the Cork Junior ‘A’ County Hurling Championship 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. The Barryroe clubhouse now embraces a tennis court, a playground, a fully equipped kitchen and a floodlight system, only equalled by Pairc Ui Rinn, Cork. The club territory embraces the villages of Barryroe, Butlerstown, Courtmacsherry and Lislevane, and amalgamating all four domains under the unified flag of the Barryroe parish, symbolises a spirit of unity amongst the G.A.A. community that has stood the test of time.
The Barryroe secretary complimented many of his colleagues who made his tasks over the years become reality and persons such as John Fleming, John and Dinsie Whelton, Cyril Dineen and John O’Dwyer and many more, are the tclub officers that inspired Paddy Murphy to become a truly historic Champion G.A.A. Volunteer on 8th May 2010.