The John Horgan column: Dr Con deserves all the plaudits he gets for his service to Cork GAA

The John Horgan column: Dr Con deserves all the plaudits he gets for his service to Cork GAA
Anthony Nash of Cork speaking with team doctor Dr Con Murphy. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

YOU always have to be sensible when describing somebody as an icon.

It’s a term too frequently used these days but in some cases it is merited and one has no problem with it.

Dr Con Murphy. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Dr Con Murphy. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

In GAA circles, here on Leeside, we are fortunate to have a number of people who fit into that category, the majority of them players who achieved greatness.

However, some of them played different roles and their contribution was every bit as important as those that lifted the trophies and won the medals.

One such person is Dr Con Murphy, surely one of Cork’s greatest servants off the field of play.

Mention Cork GAA and one of the first names that pops into your head is Dr Con, team doctor, mentor and friend to generations of Cork hurlers and footballers.

He is a giant in Cork and GAA circles and is celebrating 43 years of voluntary involvement with the Cork and UCC hurling and football teams this year.

Dr Con and Frank Murphy assist Seanie O'Leary.
Dr Con and Frank Murphy assist Seanie O'Leary.

Dr Con’s interest in sport comes from his famous father Weeshie Murphy, who won an All-Ireland medal with the Cork football team in 1945 and later served as chairman of the Cork and Munster GAA Council.

UCC selector Dr Con Murphy and his sons Brian and Cian after defeating Castlehaven. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
UCC selector Dr Con Murphy and his sons Brian and Cian after defeating Castlehaven. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Dr Con’s involvement with Cork teams stretches back to 1956 when he served as the mascot for that year’s All-Ireland final.

Affectionately known as ‘The Doc’, Con has been involved with 25 senior Cork All-Ireland-winning teams, as well as numerous successful minor and U21 teams along the way. 

He has been a great friend and confidant to multiple Cork players and UCC students over the years and it is only right and fitting that on Saturday night in the City Hall he will be honoured by his countless friends from all walks of life for his involvement and his deep affection for all things Cork GAA.

The Cork bench in 1984. Included are Justin McCarthy, Dr Con and Canon Michael O'Brien.
The Cork bench in 1984. Included are Justin McCarthy, Dr Con and Canon Michael O'Brien.

The night is a tribute and celebration of a man of the highest quality, both as a person and as a medical practitioner.

The event is the brainchild of Cairde Chorcaí, the organisation set up by a number of former players and those associated with past Cork teams and its aim is to raise funds to support all Cork teams.

Dr Con Murphy and Donal Lenihan at Liam Miller tribute match. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Dr Con Murphy and Donal Lenihan at Liam Miller tribute match. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Part of the proceeds from tonight’s gala event will go too to local charities.

JBM chats to Dr Con. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE
JBM chats to Dr Con. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE

UCC GAA Development Officer John Grainger has been a close associate of Dr Con for many years and believes that the night is a fitting tribute to an outstanding Cork and UCC personality.

“Where do you start with the ‘Doc’, he is the current president of UCC GAA football club and has given tremendous service, both on and off the field to the college for a vast number of years.

“He has looked after countless students up here, not only where GAA is concerned but in other codes too.

“He is looking after students today whose fathers he looked after many years ago and he has remained firm friends with nearly every one of them.

“There were times he was the sole selector on UCC football teams in the Cork SFC when it was difficult to field teams.

“He has supported players physically and mentally for generations. I know that for this event in the City Hall you will have people attending from all over the country.

“From what I can gather there will be a captains’ table at the event where all the surviving captains of Cork senior teams down the years will be present.

“It is certainly a well-deserved tribute to a great GAA man and an equally great person.’’ 

Cork football legend Billy Morgan has soldiered for many a long day with Con and he’s equally praiseworthy in his tribute to him.

Billy Morgan and Dr Con.
Billy Morgan and Dr Con.

“I knew Con since he was a boy. His father Weeshie was a Cork selector in 1973 but I can go back to when I was a minor with Cork and Con would be with the father. We were in UCC for a few years and there are simply no words that can describe his contribution to Cork teams and to UCC.

“He looked after so many players down the years, from Cork and from all over the country really.

”It’s a saying but he is the salt of the earth, a very knowledgeable GAA man and an excellent doctor.

“We have been friends for life and that is something that I can treasure and this event is well-deserved.’’

Larry Tompkins speaking at the launch of the Dr Con tribute at the Kiln. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Larry Tompkins speaking at the launch of the Dr Con tribute at the Kiln. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

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