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KARL MURPHY of Passage West GAA Club

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SBM Cork Hall of Fame Image for Tributes

 

CORK CHAMPION CLUB VOLUNTEER TRIBUTE:

Karl Murphy SportsLife: Held in Great Esteem In All Passage West Communities

 

There’s more to Karl Murphy of Passage West GAA Club, Co. Cork, than the MAOR UISCE title he has proudly upheld for generations of Passage players. He wears that badge with distinction and pride and in Karl’s own words…“At the AGM’s I’m told, you won’t be Re-Elected for the next year, but they always do”. I’m 40 years wearing the Passage colours and I enjoy the banter says Karl and the club is a huge component of my life. 

Off the Field... I love SINGING at the clubhouse.

BRING IT ON

The Murphy family, formerly of Scotman’s Road, Monkstown, have a heritage of Ballydesmond on the Cork/Kerry border through their dad, Michael P and Glasnevin, Dublin, through their mam, Bernadette. Michael and Bernadette had eight children commencing with twins, Greg and Eugene, followed by Jackie, John, Michel, Karl, Kevin and Bernard.

The contribution of the family to the Passage G.A.A. club in hurling, football and music, is greatly appreciated and every GAA club in Ireland would be mighty proud to have a Champion Club Volunteer, such as Karl, running the sideline on match days as their Maor Uisce.

I met with Karl at the new café beside Aldi, Rockenham, Passage West, Co. Cork, and joining us was Karl’s PRO and sister, Jackie, whose input to Karl’s tribute was of great significance. After a few minutes in the company of Karl, it was very obvious that his approach to the interview was “Bring It On”.

I also quickly discovered that Karl’s memory bank was razor sharp and right now I need to state, that never in many years of interviewing club personalities, have I met up with one so immensely proud and appreciative of his beloved Passage West G.A.A. club. Pride in the Green/White of his club was oozing out of every word he uttered.

So Many Friends In the Club

Reflecting back to the early 1980’s when Karl first walked in to Manning Park, I sought his opinions on the people who inducted him in to the whole Gaelic Games concept as a young boy. John Casey, a former Monkstown neighbour, was instrumental in the incubation stages, whilst his brothers, then playing with Emmets/Shamrocks, always had Karl in their line up.

                                                                                               

The arrival of the Murphy brothers cortege to Passage included Karl and he especially lists a number of people he acknowledges as welcoming and courteous to him at all times. This list contains names very familiar to Passage people, such as the Maxi’s, Lesters, Harringtons, O’Reilly’s, Gabby, Francis, Willie Cal, Mick Mahony, but realistically mention just Karl anywhere around Passage G.A.A. people, and you will soon discover, that just like the VIP status of Jack Lynch to Corkonians at home and abroad, Karl Murphy is upheld in the very same esteem and pride in Passage West.

Two of Karl’s brothers, Greg and John, wore the Cork jersey with distinction and Karl was quick off the mark on this, but he also stated proudly, that without his passion for the club morning, night and noon, his life may not have been as fruitful over the last 40 years.

The late Eileen Harrington, formerly of Beech Road, Passage West, played a key hospitality role during Karl’s early days in the club. If Eileen met me around town, she’d march me in to her kitchen, sit me down and make sure I wasn’t short of a bit of grub. Wonderful hospitality I’ll never forget, said Karl.

As our meeting progressed Karl’s ambition for the club, was to move out of junior ranks in hurling and football, but as the clubs Maor Uisce on the sidelines for many years, he is privy to the level of competition to get promoted to higher grades. We are progressing and winning the City Division Junior Football title was an immense boost in 2020 and we nearly completed “The Double” but Dillons are a big force for several years in hurling.

Turning to the ladies in the club, Karl is tuned in here big time and of course the ever present Ciarán O’Reilly, has him involved as Maor Uisce also. The outstanding contributions of Mayoman, Francis McEveney, come in for special mention also by Karl. The blitz, founded by Francis, is an event I now look forward to every September. I am so proud that Francis welcomes me every year to assist and he has really put the Passage club on the radar, said Karl.

                                      

 I’ll hit the 56 mark in November 2021 he told me and he turned up to our meeting like a new scholar for the first day at school. Dressed to impress and beaming from ear to ear, age will never be more for Karl than another Maor Uisce match. He tells me his sister, Michel, living in Castleknock, Dublin, now has a son wearing the Dublin minor football jersey, but Karl is a true rebel and his nephew wouldn’t be guaranteed of his support, if the Dubs faced up to the Rebels.

Through his services to G.A.A. he proudly refers to pictures he had taken with a string of well known personalities including Miceál O’Muirheartaigh, Seán Og O’Hailpín, Frank Murphy, the late Con Murphy and that’s just a token collection.

Chosen as The Club Person Of The Year in 1999/2000, this accolade is still a treasure and of course Karl brought great pride to Passage West when chosen to represent Ireland in the Special Olympics in swimming in 1984 and won a glorious silver medal. The club held an Olympic fundraiser for Karl and he’s still acknowledging their noble contribution.

Karl’s family and music has a great bond and Jackie says dad, Michael, played the accordion and mam, Bernadette played violin. We were all sent down to Glenbrook from Scotsman’s Road to Patricia Kelleher (nee McCormick) to learn the piano and the fruits of Patricia’s tutelage set us all up tuned in to music for the rest of our lives. The influence of Patricia in all our lives needs to be acknowledged, says Jackie.

Karl needs zero inspiration to stretch his vocal chords and talking music with Karl, one person more than any other, Derryman, Phil Coulter, is his No.1 pride and joy. He especially recalls a night at the Opera House when he shook the magic fingers of this famous Irishman and managed to get Phil into his picture album. Local priest Fr. Galvin, is another musical influence, but foremost in music for Karl, it’s his sister Jackie.

The role of Jackie and her husband, Gabby O’Connell, in the life, wellbeing and good and bad times of Karl, is down to the care and love he enjoys residing with the couple and their own family. After 40 years of a wonderful relationship with his family and his beloved Passage West G.A.A. Club, the name Karl Murphy will be forever inscribed in the history of the Passage club.

Karl Murphy is now inducted in our All Ireland ‘SportsLife’ Hall Of Fame Gallery @ www.ScoreBoardMemories.com as an All Ireland Champion Club Volunteer and we will mark and honour Karls induction with a special presentation in due course.

Ned Harrington, Matt Aherne and Francis McEveney of the Passage club, are also worthy inductees, already incorporated as Champion Club Volunteers.

Composed by Derry JF Doody 

editor/promoter @ ScoreBoardMemories (Cork) 

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