It was with great regret that the members of Thurles Sarsfields GAA Club heard of the death today, in his 100th year, of Mick Murphy. Down through the years the Sarsfields has a proud record of extending the hand of welcome and friendship to players who come to our town to live and work. Mick was one such player.
Mick Murphy of Kilmaley, Co. Clare had an unusual hurling career, contesting championships in three counties: – Clare, Tipperary and Dublin and an inter-county career with both his native Clare and his adopted Tipperary.
In 1938 he lined out, at centre-field, in the Clare Intermediate B championship with his native Kilmaley and helped them to their first ever county title. He also played senior hurling with Clarecastle in the late 1930s, when the ‘Magpies’ were allowed to select players from Kilmaley, Kilnamona and Ballyea. Defeat in finals came their way on three occasions, to Newmarket in 1936, O’Callaghan’s Mills a year later and in 1939 by Feakle.
Seeking new pastures, Mick took up a position at Russell’s drapery store on Liberty Square, Thurles in February 1940. He threw in his lot with Thurles Sarsfields and won Tipperary senior championship medals with them in 1942 and three-in-a-row 1944, ’45 and ’46. Right half-back and midfield were his recognised positions on the field.
The Cork dominance of hurling 1941-’44, with their famed four in a row All-Ireland success, was broken by Tipperary, captained by John Maher of Thurles Sarsfields in 1945 and Mick Murphy wore the number five jersey, when they beat Kilkenny in the final, 5-6 to 3-6.
That Tipperary team lined out as follows: – Jimmy Maher, Jim Devitt, Ger Cornally, Flor Coffey, Mick Murphy, John Maher, Captain, Tommy Purcell, Henry Gouldsboro, Tom Wall, Mutt Ryan, Tommy Doyle, Eddie Gleeson, John Coffey, Anthony Brennan, Paddy ‘Sweeper’ Ryan.
In 1947, Mick moved to Dublin to work in Clery & Co. Ltd., O’Connell Street. He now played with Faughs but declared for his native county -Clare. When Clare fell to Cork in the first round of the 1947 championship, Mick found himself up against a future Taoiseach – Jack Lynch. In the 1949 championship, he came up against many of his old Tipperary colleagues, when en route to their three-in-a-row successes. Tipperary had a very hard earned win over Clare in that Munster semi-final.
Mick Murphy was a fine sturdy defender, tenacious and gritty, his height and strength were to come to the fore often in repulsing many a promising attack.
While his Kilmaley roots are very dear to him, Mick had always fond memories of when he wore ‘The Blue’ of Thurles Sarsfields. In January 2016, Mick was inducted into Thurles Sarsfields Hall of Fame.
We extend our sincere sympathy to his sons- John, Michael, Seamus, and Gerard (Gerry) and daughter Mary, his sisters Rev. Mother Bernadette, Evelyn and Bernadette.
Solas na bhflaitheas dá anam.
1 Eanáir 2018