Tribute to Padraig Murphy

June 30th, 2012
by Weeshie Fogarty

Born in Camp, Tralee he attended Camp National School where his father, Jackie Murphy, was the principal teacher and the powerhouse in the fostering and development of the G.A.A. in Camp and in general, West Kerry.

Padraig began his football career with the local Camp team and won three successive Lower West Kerry league titles in 1948, '49 and '50, keenly contested matches against Castlegregory, Maharees and Kielduff which included such well known footballers as Tadhg Flynn (full back Kerry Junior All-Ireland Winner 1949) and James Fox Kennedy (Kerry Junior All-Ireland winner 1949), Michael O'Driscoll, Maharees, (minor All-Ireland winner 1950) and many other top-class footballers. It was a career building and character building exercise for sixteen and seventeen year olds.

Padraig graduated to Tralee CBS in 1944 where he won the Foley Cup in his second year. This team included his brother Sean and John Dowling, fore-runners of a successful career with Kerry senior and junior football teams. He entered Colaiste Iosagain, Ballyvourney in 1945 and won all the football championships with the college teams, Frewen, Cork Schools Championship culminating with the captaincy of the college team that won the Munster Colleges Cup in 1949. This was the first time that school won this trophy. He went on to captain the Munster Colleges interprovincial team against Leinster the same year in Banteer where Munster was beaten.

Padraig then went on to St. Patrick's teacher training college, Drumcondra, Dublin and played for the college in the Dublin League and championship from 1949 to 1951. The team was called "Erin's Hopes". In 1949 he also won a Cork Minor county championship with Macroom and an East Kerry league final with Glenflesk who beat Dr. Crokes (Teddy Connor and others)

On completing in education and graduating as a teacher in 1949, he joined Geraldine's Football Club in Dublin playing league and championship with them from 1951 to 1956 (came back to Camp as a principal teacher) He played all his football in the Kerry County Board area with Castlegregory and Dingle. His inter-county career was crowned by winning a Junior All-Ireland against Warwickshire in 1949, a very special day for the family as Padraig's illustrious brother Sean was also on that victorious team.  His senior career with Kerry saw him winning a Munster Senior Championship medal in 1950 against Cork. He also played against Mayo in the National League up to 1952. His position on the team was by and large as left full forward. He was an expert free taker, accurate and also an excellent fielder of the ball. A very powerful physique was a great advantage to him.

When his playing days were over,  he harnessed his prodigious energy in founding and generally managing his beloved "Na Gael Football Club" and what we see today is a fitting tribute to his intelligent foresight and encouragement of his colleagues in the club, too numerous to try and include their names in this short tribute to him. The G.A.A. today is a better place as a consequence Padraig Murphy being willing and able to spend time and energy in following, partaking in and promoting the ideals and culture of his beloved game. To his family and club we extend our sincere sympathies. Padraig died on 13th June, 2012.

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