Divided loyalties in Cork’s derby family affair

Murphy is a common surname among the Sarsfields and Erin’s Own squads.

Divided loyalties in Cork’s derby family affair

In last Sunday’s drawn county SHC semi-final between the neighbouring clubs, six Murphys saw game-time – four for Erin’s Own and two for Sars — but on the sideline another family bearing that name had its allegiance split.

Jim has been the Sars secretary for the best part of a decade but he found himself in opposition to his son Jamie, who was fulfilling the same role for Erin’s Own, while another son, Kieran, was the Glounthaune side’s sub goalkeeper.

Jamie puts all the blame firmly on his mother Patricia (née Canavan, a native of Riverstown).

“My father would have played up to minor with Erin’s Own, because at U21 level he played for Sars against his brother, who was with Erin’s Own. My mother played camogie for Sars, her family would have been heavily involved, so we’ll blame her for him switching over!

“Our house is directly in line with one of the 65s at Caherlag and we went to school in Glounthaune, so it was always a case of us playing for Erin’s Own.”

Jamie has been on the Erin’s Own committee for eight years, serving as registrar and assistant secretary before becoming secretary at the start of last year. County league games and divisional championship clashes prepared him for going up against his father, but last Sunday was a different experience.

“It was the first time in senior championship,” he says, “there would have been league games and East Cork junior championship.

“I remember in 2007 when we won the junior and beat Sars in the final, Kieran was the Erin’s Own captain. On top of that, my sister Niamh is married to Jim O’Callaghan, who’s the Erin’s Own PRO.

“It was a bit strange last week, but we’re not in the same house anymore. I’m living in Little Island now. It would have been too awkward if we were still living together.

“It has been handy in terms of getting advice. Last year, when I was new to it, I was able to ask him about forms and affiliations and things like that, it was handy to get a bit of guidance.”

Tomorrow night’s replay will see a locking of horns again, but it mightn’t be the last time that the wider family is divided.

“Kieran is living in Glanmire now so his young fella will probably defect to Sars,” Jamie says.

“It’s all fecked up, but in a good way. Whatever happens, we’re guaranteed that one of us will be in the final; hopefully it’ll go our way.”

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