The Leeside legends series: JBM shone at every level for Cork and the Barrs

The Leeside legends series: JBM shone at every level for Cork and the Barrs
Jimmy Barry-Murphy scoring a goal for Munster against Connacht in 1979.

THE initials JBM are well known in sporting circles all over Ireland as Jimmy Barry-Murphy has an honoured place as one of the greatest dual stars ever to grace a GAA pitch in Ireland.

JBM scores for Cork against Waterford in 1975. 
JBM scores for Cork against Waterford in 1975. 

Jimmy was born in 1954 and began playing hurling and football in school at Coláiste Spioraid Naoimh.

It was when Jimmy began playing in the street leagues with his beloved club St Finbarr’s that really set the ball rolling for Barry-Murphy.

Few in the game will equal Jimmy’s haul.

He landed a Cork minor championship medal with the Barrs in 1971. At senior hurling level Jimmy also excelled with the southside club as his senior championship wins in 1974, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983 and 1984 will verify.

Jimmy won his first senior All-Ireland medal at the age of 19 when he produced a devastating performance when Cork won their first All-Ireland football title for 28 years with a 3-17 to 2-13 victory in 1973.

In that memorable final, Jimmy contributed 2-1 as the Cork fans celebrated the end of their long drought.

He won All-Star football awards in 1973 and 1974; four Railway Cup successes in a row from 1975 to 1978, and an All-Ireland club title with the Barrs in 1980.

St Finbarr’s All-Ireland club champions 1975. Back: Seamus Looney, Charlie Barrett, Bertie O’Brien, Mick O’Mahony, Mick Archer, Eamon Fitzpatrick, Tony Maher, Donal O’Grady. Front: Sean Canty, Gerald McCarthy, Con Roche, Jimmy Barry-Murphy, Jim Power, Tony Butler, Gerry O’Shea, Seamus Gillen, Barry Wylie.
St Finbarr’s All-Ireland club champions 1975. Back: Seamus Looney, Charlie Barrett, Bertie O’Brien, Mick O’Mahony, Mick Archer, Eamon Fitzpatrick, Tony Maher, Donal O’Grady. Front: Sean Canty, Gerald McCarthy, Con Roche, Jimmy Barry-Murphy, Jim Power, Tony Butler, Gerry O’Shea, Seamus Gillen, Barry Wylie.

JBM has an incredible record on the hurling scene that include 10 Munster championship titles, five All-Ireland titles and five All-Star awards.

On the national stage for the Barrs Jimmy also excelled as he was simply awesome in their All-Ireland hurling club successes of 1975 and 1978.

When you have accumulated that mass of medals during a glittering career its one hell of an achievement but Jimmy looked back on the most important things that he enjoyed about the sport.

“I never put emphasis on medals as instead I always emphasised that it does not matter how many medals you won it is how you presented yourself on the field and how you played on the day.

“To me, that’s what matters and how you are really rated in sport,” said Jimmy.

Barry-Murphy looked back on the 1973 All-Ireland football win against Galway with lots of pride.

“After so many years trying it was great for our City and also for Donie O’Donovan who was a tremendous person and coach to work with to finally land the title.”

Jimmy came face to face with many talented players but Brian Mullins of Dublin and Kerry’s Mikey Sheehy are among the players he admired during his football career.

Of all the honours that Barry-Murphy won in hurling, the three-in-a-row that Cork won between 1976 to 1978 was the achievement that meant most to him.

In a never to be forgotten day in 1978, Barry-Murphy played a pivotal role in that famous win.

Two of the greats: JBM at training with Christy Ring in 1978.
Two of the greats: JBM at training with Christy Ring in 1978.

The fact that the win was against Kilkenny made it all the sweeter for the Barrs man as the Cats seemed to have the Indian sign over Cork for a few years.

Despite his full trophy cabinet, Jimmy missed out on one honour he would have truly have loved to captain the Rebels to an All-Ireland win.

However, Jimmy put that fact into perspective.

“What about all the great players that never won one All-Ireland or even played in Croke Park? I count myself one of the lucky ones and now when I look back on my career I just thank God I was part of that great era.”

JBM celebrates scoring a point in the 1983 Munster Championship. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE
JBM celebrates scoring a point in the 1983 Munster Championship. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

Jimmy played hurling in a simple manner always looking for his fellow forwards in a better position to score.

Married to Jean they have four children Brian, Deirdre, Ann and Grace.

People may have been surprised that Jimmy’s son Brian played soccer with Sheffield Wednesday and is currently the manager of Rochdale but Jimmy believed in his children choosing their own careers.

“Just because I played hurling and football does not mean my son should have followed in my steps and I am sure Brian has no regrets playing and managing across the water.”

JBM celebrates in '99 with John Allen behind him. Picture: Sportsfile.
JBM celebrates in '99 with John Allen behind him. Picture: Sportsfile.

Jimmy’s last achievement with Cork was managing the 1999 All-Ireland winning team and although returning from 2011 to 2015 he is now enjoying his retirement from his beloved sport.

The name of Jimmy Barry-Murphy is a household name still in every hurling and football county in Ireland and now he is enjoying his involvement and passion for greyhound racing.

Small ball or big ball it made no difference to JBM — he was a class act in both codes.

FACTFILE:

Jimmy Barry-Murphy won his first senior All-Ireland medal at the age of 19. Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland
Jimmy Barry-Murphy won his first senior All-Ireland medal at the age of 19. Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland
  • Jimmy Barry-Murphy is the holder of five All-Ireland hurling medals and one football title.
  • He was a member of the Cork hurling team that clinched the All-Ireland treble between 1976-78.
  • Barry-Murphy won six senior county medals with St Finbarr’s and two All-Ireland club titles.

    In the 1975 Munster final, JBM fires a pass away from Newmarket-on-Fergus' Pat O'Leary.
    In the 1975 Munster final, JBM fires a pass away from Newmarket-on-Fergus' Pat O'Leary.
  • He coached the Cork senior hurling team that won the All-Ireland against Kilkenny in 1999.
  • Brian Barry-Murphy son of Jimmy is the present manager of Rochdale who compete in the English Football League One.
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