Sometime next year, certainly in league and possibly championship, the veteran secretary of the Sarsfields club will smile across at the first-year secretary of Erin’s Own, and give a knowing nod.
They’re neighbours of course, the two Cork clubs, and as such are also strong rivals. There is also though an inter-connectivity between Sars and Erin’s Own and in this particular instance, it couldn’t be closer.
Jim Murphy has been a player and official with Sarsfields for longer than he can remember, club secretary for several years. Jamie Murphy, likewise, has been involved with Erin’s Own and, last week, was elected club secretary for the first time.
Jim Murphy, Jamie Murphy, father and son, from the same house, same name, same position but different clubs. Unique in GAA history?
“I don’t know,’ laughs Jamie, “But I’d say it’s fairly unusual anyway.”
So how did it come about? A bit of history, says Jim. “It goes back decades, long before Erin’s Own was formed. My father’s family were from Glounthaune, now Erin’s Own territory, but back then in the 30s and 40s, even though there was a local club Leeside, most fellas played for Sars.
“My father, Bertie Óg’s father and PJ’s father — Tommy, Bertie and Jimmy — were brothers and they all played for Sars (Bertie Óg is a Sars stalwart, PJ likewise with Erin’s Own, manager of the team, his sons Kieran and Eoin current stars). In fact all three brothers played for Cork on the one day but my father, Tommy, was the only one to play in the Munster championship — he played in goals in 1934 and 35, beaten both years.
“I’m living in Caherlag, beside the Erin’s Own field and only up the road from where I was born, and I played with Erin’s Own for a spell, up to minor when we won the club’s first East Cork title, but the pressure came on and I transferred to Sars, I think around 1969.”
When Jim’s own sons, Kieran and Jamie, came on the scene though there was no such pressure applied and so it developed that while Jim – and his wife Pat, Sars to the marrow – remained as Sars supporters, the opposition were allowed set up camp so to speak in the Murphy home. Explained Jamie: “Erin’s Own was always our club, myself and Kieran – sure when we looked out our kitchen window we were looking at the 65m line. But there was never any pressure put on us to switch to Sars. Mam and Dad have been Sars supporters for years but still look out for us. That’s just the way things were, he was happy out with it, so we just leave him to it. For us though Erin’s Own was always number one and that’s how it is now.”
Jim has an even stronger line-up to face since the Erin’s Own AGM as his son-in-law Pat O’Callaghan, married to his daughter Niamh, was elected club PRO.
What of the secretary’s job though, the most demanding and daunting task in any club, will Jamie be asking advice from his father? And already, in reply, the banter — “If my father can do it anyone can do it, that’s how I look at it. He wouldn’t be the most organised kind of person. Seriously though, I know if I run into any problems he’ll be there for me.”
Jamie added: “If you’re properly organised, it makes things a lot easier and the smart-phone is a great development, getting all the e-mails and texts and so on. We have a big year in 2014, our 50th anniversary, big celebrations. The club was formed in 1964 and we have a commemorative book coming out, a few other events organised as well. It’s gone quiet now, but, come February or so, it will take off.”
Won’t it just. It should be interesting to be a fly on the Murphy wall over the coming months.