Honouring giants of Cork GAA

They share more than a surname, principally a red-blooded passion for Cork GAA, with a combined 88 years of astonishing service to the cause.

Dr Con Murphy with the February Cork Person of the Month award. Picture: Tony O'Connell

Frank Murphy is in his 46th and final year as Cork GAA secretary, while Dr Con Murphy is in his 42nd season as medic to the county’s senior teams.

Whether it be on the pitch, the committee room or the dressing room, their dedication to the cause is absolute. Whether it be in Goleen or Gweedore, there’s never been a need for surnames when discussing Frank and The Doc.

When they step down from their respective roles, both will inevitably be sprinkled with garlands from on high, but the ones nearest will be dearest to them.

They’ve been getting a taste in the past week, with both honoured in Cork — Dr Con Murphy named Cork Person of the Month for February, and Frank Murphy awarded the Hall of Fame at the annual Cork City & County Youth awards.

Frank Murphy is inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Cork City and County Youth Sports Star Awards at the Metropole Hotel. Picture John Tarrant

“Dr Con is a giant in Cork and GAA circles,” said Cork Person of the Month organiser Manus O’Callaghan.

“His involvement with Cork teams stretches back to 1956 when he served as mascot for that year’s All-Ireland final. He’s been involved with 25 senior Cork All-Ireland-winning teams, as well as numerous successful minor and U21 teams. And he’s been a great friend and confidant to multiple players and UCC students over the years.”

The Doc said he was “humbled and very much appreciative” of the recognition.

From referee to county secretary — he says he was only a modest player — Frank Murphy’s frontline involvement with Cork GAA extends over half a century.

Since his contract was again extended for a further 12 months, he is currently in his 46th year as secretary of the county board, being one of the first full-time officials when he was first appointed in December of 1972.

At the time, he was building a reputation as a top-class hurling referee, who was well ahead of his time in embracing the idea of continuity of play, long before the GAA introduced an advantage rule.

Former Examiner GAA correspondent Jim O’Sullivan said: “In 1971, he took charge of the All-Ireland senior hurling final between Tipperary and Kilkenny, a game which is often remembered for the fact that Tipperary star Babs Keating finished in his stockinged feet. For Frank, what made the year especially memorable was the fact that he also refereed the inaugural All-Ireland club final, the National League final, and the Munster final.”

At home in Cork, he refereed no fewer than ten county hurling finals, as well as one in football.

The Hall of Fame Award was sponsored by Gurranabraher Credit Union.

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