Dunphy, Dick

November 24, 2006
The late Dick Dunphy The much loved treasurer of Kilkenny County GAA Board and a former councillor passed away, outside the home of the woman who replaced him on Kilkenny County Council. In an eerie coincidence, Dick Dunphy died from a suspected heart attack on his way home from Mass outside the home of Cllr Cora Long who took his place on the he local authority after he stepped down in 1999. Paying tribute to Mr Dunphy at a council meeting, Cllr Long said, he was one of the finest men she ever met. She spoke of his energy and committment to his parish and to the GAA. It was one of many heart-felt tributes to the 67-year-old who won an All-Ireland senior hurling medal in 1966 with the county as sub goalie and a senior county championship with his native Mooncoin in 1963. Cllr Bobby Aylward said that if it had not been for the great Ollie Walsh, Dick Dunphy would have won a number of senior All-Irelands in goal. Hi love affair with hurling and his dedication to it were also alluded to by Cllr Bobby Aylward who said that Dick Dunphy who said that Dick Dunphy had been a great friend of him when he first joined the council. He had a gentle yet beguiling humourous nature and he always seemed to be in good form and that was something touched upon by members. Cllr Aylward said that he was witty when the need arose and that he never got involved in rows but always had the knack of saying something to diffuse potentially volatile situations. Cllr Aylward noted that Mr Dunphy was a Pioneer and would ensure that everyone got home after a 'do' without bother. He served on the council for 25 years from 1974 to 1999 and during that time, Cllr Aylward could not remember him saying a bad word about anyone. "There isn't many who could say that about", he added. The Fianna Fail councillor also admitted being a little rash in his early days on the council and remembered that Mr Dunphy would keep him in check for his own good. His love of greyhounds was recalled by his neighbour, Cllr Pat Dunphy of Fine Gael. "Every morning, you would see him along the road with nine or ten greyhounds and he had a runner at Waterford track on Saturday night," he said. He said that when he came on the council in 1999, the first man over to welcome him into the council chamber was Dick Dunphy. "I will never forget his broad smile and the strength of his hand-shake". Cllr Dick Dowling said he was particularly emotional because he is the same age as the late Mr Dunphy and entered the council chamber at the same time as him. "He was a kind, honest, Christian soul," Cllr Dowling remarked. Cllr Tom Maher was also first elected to the council on the same day as Mr Dunphy and was always inmpressed by his very keen sense of judgement and his ability to sum things up, quickly and accurately. On behalf of the officials, County Manager Michael Malone said that while he had known of him and noted he was highly respected and held in high esteem. The meeting was adjourned for a half an hour as a mark of respect. His remains were removed from Waterford Regional Hospital to St Kevin's Church, Carrigeen. Dick Dunphy is survived by his wife Bea; brothers Fr Walter (Divine World Missionaries), Paddy and Joe; sisters Mary and Betty, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. Courtesy of The Kilkenny People 24 November 2006 People gathered in their hundreds to pay their last respects to a great friend, colleague and neighbour in the small hamlet of Carrigeen. Dick Dunphy had passed to his Eternal Rewards, without notice, without saying a last cheerio, without any pomp or ceremony. That was Dick Dunphy. He was a man who refuted notice, a man who did a job, a good job, and hoped that nobody might notice. He was unique in so many ways. I would have known him for a long number of years, not as long as some, but our friendship was valuable. It was honest and it was never less than sincere. In a sense, within the GAA he was a one off. He was a 'dacent skin' who would not know how to do a person wrong. Not for Dick the trappings of officialdom, where the accent of the ladder of position and prestige is an all-consuming malaise. Dick Dunphy, treasurer of the most prestigious and acclaimed County Board in the country, was the same Dick Dunphy who walked his dogs down in Luffany, or took up a church gate collection for whatever worthy cause he believed in helping. Not for him the pretentious trappings that seem to propel other mortals into realms of self-importance, when modesty might have been a more enviable attribute. No, Dick Dunphy never read more into any situation than it merited; He was a man of the game, a man of the area in which he first saw the light of day and was reared. He was a man who never lost contact with his fellow pioneers. He was born and lived all his life in Luffany, a pocket steeped in the traditions of Irish life, not the width of a salmon's dorsal fin from the flowing Nore. He grew up with his brothers, Joe, Paddy, and Fr. Wattie. They had sisters, Mary and Betty, and life was good on and in the Dunphy domain. His father, Eddie was an All-Ireland medal winner, as were all his uncles, Wattie was the first Kilkenny captain to be presented with the first Liam McCarthy Cup. At the time Mooncoin was a volcanic hotbed of hurling fame and fable. Nobody wondered or hesitated over a single All-Ireland medal. Acclaim only came when the medal plural was in the conversations and the Dunphys and Doyles had more gold than was in the vaults in Fort Knox. So it was no accident that Dick, Paddy and Joe grew up with a hurling ethos. There was no other as far as they were concerned. As Ned Quinn, chairman of the Kilkenny County Board and life-long friend of Dick, remarked in his homily at the end of Dick's Requiem in Carrigeen: "Dick honed his skill in the yard at home with the other lads, a place you entered at your own risk, if the lads were playing. And then, when they moved to the field at the back of the house, the game took on a whole new dimension, when games took place between Luffany and the lads from the Street". We are not talking about a town or even a big village. This is Luffany we speak of, but it was important to Dick and his brothers. It was their own place. It was special to them, and time would never dim the magnetism of that place from their memories, wherever life's journey's took them. Dick was a singularly modest man. He worked his farm. He took great pride in continuing the farming traditions he inherited from his parents. He had an interest in greyhounds, and like most canine owners, he always had a few. Sometimes it was way more than a few. He was many things to a number of organisations in which he involved himself. He was secretary of the Mooncoin Coursing Club for nigh on 30 years, a position he devoted so much of his considerable energies to. He had his share of greyhound success too. He won a couple of Trial Stakes over the years, and one of his greyhounds ran up to the Trial Stake Plate at Clunanna some 25 years ago. He liked that one. In recent years, he started a greyhound racing syndicate with his brother Joe and his nephew, Owen. They have kicked in a few winners in Waterford over the years, and that would have given him great pleasures. In fact, he was at the Waterford track on Saturday night, a place he would always frequent, time permitting. But it was with Mooncoin hurling club that Dick was synonymous. As a talented player, he starred in goal when they won the county junior final in 1961. Progressing from there, he was also in goal when Mooncoin won their last senior title in 1965. He was understudy on the Kilkenny team to the iconic Ollie Walsh for years, winning Leinster championship and National League medals in 1966. He acted as the Mooncoin club treasurer. He was the club's representative to the County Board. He was chairman of the club. He acted as a Kilkenny selector during the roaring 'seventies. He visited America in those days, when travel to the 'States was a fairytale. Wherever he went, and with whom ever he mixed, Dick Dunphy earned enormous respect. His friendship with the late Mick O'Neill, former chairman of Kilkenny County Board, who also passed away a few months ago, was lasting and valued. He established a great rapport with the marvellously colourful former secretary of the County Board, the highly respected Paddy Grace. He was elected as a Trustee of the Board in 1982, and in 1998 he was elected as treasurer of the 'Board at the County Convention. Over the past ten years, Dick Dunphy established his own niche within GAA officialdom through the county and further. He had his own idiosyncratic way of doing things, and when he volunteered to perform a task, you could be sure that it was done to perfection. He had a winning personality. That is not to be confused with any semblance of weakness, because he could be as tough a negotiator as the situation needed. As part of his remit as treasurer, Dick insured that all Kilkenny players were treated with a first class consideration and high level of respect. Often he would say "without the players, we have nothing". How right he was. No player in Kilkenny was ever short of equipment, out of pocket expenses, or short changed when it came to being looked after. The players trusted the Mooncoin man. They were always at ease when it came down to discussion about problems, financial or otherwise. He took an active interest in politics and he went on the Fianna Fail ticket in the Piltown constituency in the local elections some 30 years ago. He did most of his own canvassing, and he managed to get elected at the first attempt. Dick represented the Piltown electoral area with impunity and honesty. If someone needed a little assistance, Dick's door was always ajar and the welcome mat was always in place. He made a lasting difference in his own fashion to a great many people's lives, of all political persuasions. The crowds attending his removal from Ardkeen Hospital on Tuesday evening were enormous. A guard of honour was mounted at the hospital, and on the approach to Carrigeen Church by a wide representation of the many organisations that came in contact with Dick His brother, Fr. Wattie celebrated the requiem mass. Bishop Laurence Forristal of Ossory presided. The bidding prayers were read by Willie O'Connor and Pat Dunphy. The Reflection was read by Henry Shefflin. The prayers of the Faithful were recited by Dick's nieces and nephews. His coffin was carried to the graveside by his nephew. Human beings like Dick Dunphy from Luffany have embellished God's creative powers. They have coloured and enhanced the lives of many who have been in contact with them. Many will deem themselves privileged to have developed a steadfast friendship with him. He has contributed more than was expected. His mark on the lives of many is indelible When people like Dick Dunphy were created, the mould was thrown away. He will be missed by a wide number of people, who would consider him to have been their friend. Above all, he will be missed by his wife Bea, his brothers, Fr Wattie, Joe and Paddy; sisters, Mary and Betty; nieces and nephews, in-laws, Luffany, Mooncoin, his greyhounds and many others. I know one man who will find the road from Mooncoin to Nolan Park a lot longer, and much lonelier. It will be even longer and lonelier on the way back. Finally, the last line in the Hurler's Prayer recited by Henry Shefflin best encapsulates the life of Dick Dunphy: "You hurled like a man, you played the game." And he did it without getting a yellow card. Courtesy of the Kilkenny People 11th December 2006


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