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Cork Sports Icon Juliet Murphy Honoured With Hall Of Fame Induction
On Friday 10th October at Vienna Woods Hotel, Cork, 250 patrons assembled at the exclusive Vienna Woods Hotel, Cork, when Juliet Murphy was inducted into The All Ireland Hall Of Fame Online Gallery. One of Ireland's greatest ever ladies footballers, an international basketball star and a national roadbowling champion, Juliet received several ovations during a star studded gathering of Cork's elite sports communities.
The Donoughmore, Co. Cork native sportswoman began her illustrious sports career at her local national school and sampled the rich surface and famous surrounds of Croke Park when she represented her local school in a blitz competition at headquarters. From the moment she took a football into her hands, her mentors instinctively realised; they had the makings of a future star in their midst. Her committment and dedication, at that early stage of her career, was complimented by a huge array of delicate skills and her natural fielding ability shone like a beacon.
The Donoughmore area was also noted for its basketball enthusiasm and many successes at national level. The local schools encouraged their students to take up basketball and Juliet needed little persuasion. Under the direction of renowned coach, Dommy Mullins, Juliet blossomed as a national basketball star and travelled with her Ireland colleagues to many European venues to represent her country.
Dommy Mullins, in his assesment of Juliet's prowess, paid tribute to her great attention to detail and respect for her club, her county, her country and especially her coaches. However, he recognised that no matter how many plaudits came her way, she always took the low road when compliments were distributed and stated she was playing a team game.
In roadbowling, a sport almost exclusive to Cork and Armagh, Juliet was introduced to this native 28 ounce round metal ball sport by her dad, Mick Murphy, who is well known in bowling circles for several decades of participation as a player and a great fan of the game.
Mick won an All Ireland Intermediate title and through his influence, he brought Juliet around the country roads of Donoughmore and the roadbowling districts of Cork county and again the super sports woman adapted to the game brilliantly and went on to claim an All Ireland Intermediate title.
And her uncles Willie and Murty Murphy stated at the show, that they hoped Juliet might now return competitively to roadbowling. In the sports codes graced by Juliet, gaelic football was the code that made her an iconic national sports figure and at a time when ladies football in Cork was not on the national radar.
Juliet made her Cork senior debut at just 15 years old in 1995. It would be many years later when Cork's messiah of ladies football decided to take over the reins and fortunes of Cork's future football progress. Speaking at Juliet's Hall Of Fame induction, renowned Cork coach, Eamonn Ryan, noted that he had a few bright sparks in the Cork set up when he took over, and one of his jewels was Juliet, an athlete who possessed a great hunger and competitiveness that he truly admired. He stated he had no doubt in his mind, that Juliet Murphy was one of the main lynchpins that enabled Cork to become so successful at winning senior All Ireland titles.
Right throughout her career under Eamonn, until she finally retired in 2013 after winning her 8th All Ireland title, she gave astonishing leadership and performed at a level, that only the outstanding superstars of sports codes can achieve.
She played practically all her football at midfield for Cork and rescued her county on several occasions when the pendulum was swinging away from the Leesiders, only for Juliet to rise up and motivate an entire team to battle away. The Jack O'Shea of ladies football was a quote made by many patrons and even the great Kerryman would have been hard pressed to match the Donoughmore woman's consistency at the top level for so many years. She retired in 2012 and made her inter county comeback the following year (2013) and in the All Ireland final against Monaghan, Cork looked to be heading for the losers door, until Juliet grabbed the game to oneside and marshalled a tremendous rally.
With Cork kicking wide after wide in the dying embers, this is the game where Juliet left a lifetime impression on those fortunate to be in Croke Park on that glorious afternoon for Cork ladies football. It is a memory my colleagues and I treasure and are very glad that we witnessed such a unique Cork victory.
Gaining possession around midfield she zig zagged a mazy run through the Monaghan defence with the clock about to sound time up, but not before Juliet split the posts with a wonder point and Cork were again All Ireland senior champions. This triumph epitomised Juliet's significance to the Cork team and her ultimate decision after the final, to finally hang up her inter county boots left a massive gap in Cork's armoury.
With her club Donoughmore Juliet won a glorious 13 county senior championship titles, 2 All Ireland senior club titles and was fortunate to captain Cork in 2005 when the county won their first ever senior All Ireland crown and she was captain again in 2006 and 2007, as Cork were now the new kingpins of national ladies football.
In 2010 Tyrone upset the odds when they outclassed Cork at the quarter final stage and the general consensus was that Cork had a mighty task to rebuild confidence, even with star players on board, such as Juliet Murphy. Eamonn Ryan went back to the drawing board, took his troops to oneside, and soon realised his team still had great ambitions and motivation for further success and more importantly, he had a unique group of young female athletes gathered around him with bundles of spirit and great committment.
A glorious 6 All Stars were accumalated by Juliet in her glittering career and she travelled to many destinations around the globe as a wonderful ambassador for Irish sports and a role model for young girls to become active in sport through their schools and local clubs. As a primary school teacher at Crosshaven, Co. Cork, Juliet is back in the classrooms again, this time as the master.
However maybe the Gaelic Athletic Association should be courting the renowned Cork footballer to promote our native sports at home and abroad, simply because great players, such as Juliet Murphy, are jewels that seldom arise with the capability to motivate young people all over Ireland. Thanks for the golden memories Juliet.
Juliet was inducted into our All Ireland Hall Of Fame Online Gallery, The Cork Sports Hall Of Fame Online Gallery.. and was also presented with The Club & Community Award (Cork) for her outstanding service to women's sports.
Cork based International cabaret artists, Ryan Morgan and Amanda Neri, headed up a major musical programme and thrilled patrons with their wondeful renditions. Other acts included the anchor 6 piece band, Bosca Ceóil who performed excellently, Boherbue All Ireland Champion Set Dancers, Frank Houlihan, renowned champion dancer, Imokilly Dancers; Barry Looney, a well known Cork tenor, Eamon Quinlan of Carrignavar, a brilliant songwriter and singer.
Amongst the large attendance was His Lordship and Bishop Of Cork, Most Rev. Dr. John Buckley, Cllr. Alan Coleman, Mayor of Cork County Council, who will also host a Civic Reception for Juliet in January 2014 at Cork County Hall. The Cork senior and U16 All Ireland ladies champion teams were also on parade with the 3 ladies cups won by Cork teams in 2014 - senior and U16 football and the senior camogie cup.
The event was designated by Juliet Murphy and her parents, Mick and Mary Murphy, to The Deirdre O'Reilly Trust Fund.
Deirdre is a 44 year old mother of two daughters, aged 6 and 7, who suffered a life altering major stroke just 3 days before Christmas 2013 and has a huge road ahead of her to regain her speech and mobility.
The Juliet Murphy SportsLife & Cabaret Show was created, produced and presented by Derry JF Doody, who was greatly assisted by a team of volunteers, including Tony Leahy, Frank and Marie Murphy, Barry Looney and Johnny Harrington at The Historical Club (Cork).
Derry JF Doody, with Tony Leahy and Frank Murphy, also travelled to the two local national schools in the week leading up to the event and presented for the pupils a very special introduction to 'Play The Game' - a novel Hall Of Fame Big Screen presentation
of a historic collection of Ireland's greatest sports icons.
The sports history educational film is designed to enhance national school pupils, boys and girls, to become active at a young age in sports and strive to emulate the numerous legends appearing on the Big Screen at their school. The pupils reserved a special applause for their own local hero, Juliet Murphy.
Mick and Mary Murphy, Juliet's parents, were wonderful organisers at Donoughmore, and sold several thousand euros of tickets to neighbours and family friends and were main contributors to the funds raised.
The Cork Ladies Football Board, through Jerome Casey, county treasurer, and fellow board officers, came on board as organisers, and their substantial contribution to a gala event is truly acknowledged.
It is our intention to keep a close watching brief on a golden circle of Cork ladies footballers who have now amassed a handsome collection of 9 All Ireland senior football medals without counting the dual camogie players.
This a wonderful era for Cork ladies involved in gaelic games and in a very short time frame they have surpassed the achievements of their menfolk who never attained so many national senior titles in such a glittering short timespan.
These famous female athletes are backed up by teams of administrators at club and county levels over several years, who also deserve great recognition for Cork's dominance in ladies gaelic football.
Derry JF Doody