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Tom Murphy Remembered

By: Jim Mannion

The praises of the founders of the G.A.A are being sung in this centenary Year, and rightly so.

As we here in Garrymore look up our own members, men like the Heaneys, the O’Tooles, Fitzpatricks, Jack Gill, John Mullen and many others are mentioned, but one name gets priority over all, and that is the name of Tom Murphy. Far outside the borders of Garrymore, Tom is known as father of the club, and a respected figure by all who came in contact with him.

He was a member of the Ballyglass team in the ‘Twenties and early ’thirties. The reason changing the name of the club to Garrymore was to make it possible to play all the Roundfort Parish players and it was Tom and his namesake, Paddy Murphy, who came up with the name Garrymore. Tom was its first Chairman, elected in 1936, and remained in the position until 1954, when I took over, unworthy as I was to step into his shoes, having as it was served under him from 1944.

I tried to follow in his footsteps and instill in the players the spirit of loyalty and pride in the club that Tom had given us. How I succeeded I will leave others to tell. While the club has good workers now, none could ever be as committed as Tom was. His time, his talent and they were many, he freely gave to the Garrymore club. He was Chairman, selector and delegate to the South Board. Responsible for getting a pitch ready for matches meant putting down goalposts and marking the pitch. A bucket of lime and a white-wash brush were part of his gear.

As a delegate to the South Board he was one of the most respected members. H e was a good debater, honest and truthful. It was said of him he never refused to tell the truth even if it was against his own Club. In a quote from the Mayo News, April , 1939 “ Fr. M. McEvilly, Chairman of the South Mayo Board , congratulated Garrymore on winning the South Mayo Championship, and South Mayo on winning the Inter- Divisional Senior Championship, paid special tribute to Tom Murphy, Chairman of the Garrymore Club, as Garrymore had eight players on the Divisional Team”.

That is just one of many tributes the Press paid Tom at the time when the G.A.A. did not get coverage it gets today. It shows the respect he received from all. Also it gives an idea of the time he gave to further the Club. It was often cycled to every player’s home to inform him of a fixture, or a cancellation, or change of venue. On one occasion on a Saturday night before a match, he was informed he had to get a change of jerseys. On Sunday morning , he got up at six o’clock, cycled to Jack Craddock’s in Shrule , a very good friend of his, got the set of jerseys, was in Roundfort first for Mass, went from that to Malachy Ford’s field, marked the field and had all ready for the start of the game at 3 o’clock. That is the type of commitment Tom Murphy really had.

Personally I learned a lot from him. He always aimed at being a good leader. We had to listen to everyone. He always prepared to help everyone, and I think that is how Tom Murphy gained the respect of all. He never asked what he could get out of the Club, but rather what he could do for the Club. He was an exemplary good Catholic and a gentleman to his finger-tips.