December 09, 1994
Former Rebel County Star
SEAN MURPHY Steers Erin's Own To Historic Junior Title - The Kilmurry clubman is in 25th
Year as adult footballer!
On Sunday November 13th last at Macroom, Erin's Own contesting their first final at this grade, defeated Kilskeam to clinch the Cork Junior county football Championship. The Glounthaune parish club, which is more famous because of its hurling exploits over a number of years and which secured the Cork Senior hurling title only two years ago, is now looking forward to its first season of Intermediate football fare. The mastermind behind Erin's Own's historic breakthrough is former Cork intercounty star Sean Murphy who has managed the team for the past two years and is currently in his 25th year as an adult club player with his own local Kilmurry club. The Cork city based solicitor will be faced with something of a dilemma next year as both Kilmurry and Erin's Own will be contesting the Intermediate Championship - Kilmurry in the Muskerry Divisional Championship, Erin's Own in their usual East Cork section.
The Kilmurry club is based in mid-Cork and has been playing at Intermediate level every year since 1987. The club hasn't reached the Senior grade since the thirties. At a mere 41 years young, Sean Young is by far the club's longest serving player - not too many play adult football for 25 years! "I play mostly in the half forward line these days, but played midfield when I was younger and also in the half back line when I was more versatile. I suppose there's only one more line to go before I'm out of the team!" Sean jokes. With the club Murphy has collected an array of honours.
Before moving into the club's ranks, Sean Murphy picked up Championship medals at Under 14, Under 16, Minor and Under 21 levels. At adult level he has so far added to his hefty medal haul with four Mid Cork Junior Championships, two All-County Junior medals (in 1980 and 1986), four Junior Leagues, three Myskerry Cups (The Muskerry Cup is a competition involving all the teams in the area which is run off on a handicap basis) and two Intermediate Leagues, the most recent of which was garnered on Saturday week last. "There are approximately sixteen to eighteen clubs in the Mid Cork section, Muskerry being our Senior team," the former Rebel County star notes.
Sean Murphy represented his county at all levels. In 1971 he was included at left half forward on the Cork side which lost out to Mayo in the All-Ireland Minor decider. In 1972, '73 and '74 the Kilmurry clubman was on the county Under 21 team, winning a Munster Championship medal in '74 only to see Cork's run ended at the hands of Ulster champions Antrim in the All-Ireland semi-final. Sean was a substitute on the Senior county team in 1974 when Cork were shocked by Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final, but never broke onto the actual team until 1976. He remained there until 1981 and can consider himself more than a little unfortunate to have arrived on the intercounty scene at a time when Kerry were not only the dominant team in Munster, but by far the strongest side in the country. Unfortunately, Sean finished up on the losing side of the scoreline on more Munster final days than he would care to recall.
"Kerry were rampant at the time and we found it difficult to make any sort of impression in the Munster Championship. The only honour I won with the County Seniors was a national League medal in 1980," Sean reflects ruefully. "The closest we got to a Munster was when we took Kerry to replay at Pairc Ui Chaoimh in '76. We were seven points up with about six minutes left to play but ended up losing after extra time, in what has gone down in history books as a very contro-versial match." The man who coached Erin's Own to victory in the 1994 Cork All-County Junior Championship has gathered an abundance of experience through training his own local club. He was manager of Kilmurry in 1978, '79 and '80, during which time the a Mid Cork outfit annexed two Divisional Junior titles, two Divisional Leagues and a county Junior crown in 1980. He opted to concentrate solely in playing for the next three years but returned as player manager again for seasons 1984, '85 and '86. Incredibly history seemed to repeat itself as Kilmurry once again took two Divisional Championships and two Divisional Leagues, rounding it off with another Junior county triumph in 1986! The club has been Intermediate ever since.
During the course of his lengthy playing career, Sean Murphy also lined out for UCC, whom he represented in the Cork Senior Football Championships of 1974, '75 and '76. He also represented the famous Cork University at Sigerson Cup level, but got no further than a semi-final. The former cork star also lined out for his Divisional team Muskerry in the Senior County Championships of 197 - 73 and 1976 - 85, contesting three county semi-finals - in 1973, 1981 and 1985.
For how much longer does Sean Murphy intend to continue playing? "I may decide to hang the boots up at the end of this year. My club are Intermediate and Erin's Own have also gone Intermediate now, so there is a possibility that the two teams could meet each other in next year's Championship. The only way I will be able to get involved with Erin's Own again is if Kilmurry were to be beaten early on in the Championship. As long as Kilmurry were still involved I wouldn't be able to manange another team," the Cork solicitor points out. Sean doesn't rule out possibility of him managing his local club again at some future date. "Kilmurry have very good coaches at the moment, but if they were to ask me to help them out at any stage in the future I don't see any reason why I wouldn't do so," he admits.
Sean Murphy is glad to report that there is no shortage of talent at either the Erin's Own or Kilmurry club Erin's Own stalwarts including the likes of county hurling stars Brian Corcoran and Timmy Kelleher (Man of the Match in the county final), while Kilmurry's future is in safe hands so long as men such as 1994 All-Ireland Under 21 medallists Connor Murphy and John Clifford stick around. Both lads have bright futures ahead of them in the game and the Kilmurry club also has a number of other exciting young prospects in the pipeline.
Sean Murphy became a Cork Senior selector on October 1987, the month after the Leesiders had lost out to Meath in the All-Ireland final, and remained a county team selector up until June 1991. During Sean's stint as a selector the Rebels reached three All-Ireland finals on the trot, losing to Meath again in the '88 decider before defeating Mayo and Meath respectively in the finals of 1989 and '90. In 1991 Cork failed to get beyond the first round and Murphy decided that his services were no longer required. "Selectors and managers can become stale in their ideas after a certain amount of time and I felt that it was time for me to go. We had achieved a lot within a few years and it was time for new blood to be introduced right across the board."
The Kilmurry clubman explains how he became involved as a manager of Erin's Own. "I was involved last year and they were beaten in the East Cork Junior final. A solicitor friend of mine, Paddy Twomey, a great Erin's Own clubman, asked me to get involved and I did so once my own club had been eliminated from the Championship." Sean stayed on this year and victories over neighbours Glanmire, Fr O'Neills, St Catherines and Glenville gave them the East Cork Junior crown. Erin's Own then progressed to the county Junior series proper where they overcame Ballingeary in the quarter-final, Passage in the semi-final and the Dunhallow outfit Kiskeam in the final. History had been made, the spoils of victory headed Caherlag way and the bonfires of victory blazed throughout Glounthaune parish to celebrate a famous victory.
Of the opinion that the Cork were unlucky not to win the All-Ireland in 1993 and that the Rebels paid the ultimate price for Tony Davis' harsh dismissal in the final against Derry, Sean Murphy believes that Cork are far from a spent force at national level. "I see no reason for panic," he reasons. "Their form in the League has been very inconsistent but they have won the past two Munster titles and that should never been taken for granted. Cork actually did better against Down this year than I had expected them to do - their whole training very disrupted while Down were the superior team over the course of this year. I believe that every tem hits peaks and valleys, and Cork appear to be coming out of a valley at the moment. They remain a force to be reckoned with!" Fighting words indeed from one of the Rebel County's unsung heroes!
For the record the successful Erin's Own Junior team panel of 1994 was: Pat Collins, Denis Collins (Capt), Frank Horgan, Damian Long, Brendan Murphy, Brian Corcoran, Barry O'Neill, Denis O'Mahony, Timmy Kelleher, Paul Geasley, John Corcoran, Paul McNamara, Michael Mulcahy, Colman Dillon, John Dillon, Kieran Murphy, Paudie O'Sullivan, John K O'Mahony, Brendan Tobin, Denis Mulcahy, Thomas Lyons, Damian Bennett and Niall O'Neill. Selectors: DD Sheehan, Humphrey Collins and John Murphy. Trainor/Coach: Sean Murphy.
Taken from Hogan Stand magazine
9th December, 1994
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