It was a long road from Glenville to Amsterdam for new European GAA chair

It was a long road from Glenville to Amsterdam for new European GAA chair

John Murphy, Glenville, with his teammates in Amsterdam.

FORMER GLENVILLE club man John Murphy has taken over as chairman of the European GAA County Board. 

"It's a long, long way from Bridestown to Amsterdam," he joked when reflecting on an amazing journey that has taken him around the world. 

"My earliest memories were of wanting to be a farmer and play GAA games. I was able to get my feet into the wellingtons as soon as I could walk but the first time I laced up my football boots was nearly 12-years-old." 

Due to a heart condition, he spent more time in Crumlin’s Children’s Hospital than on the football pitch growing up. 

"I do fondly recall the first time donning the Glenville National School jersey. 

"There has been no looking back since, while my on-field GAA career has been stop-start due to the heart condition, I love Gaelic games." 

He got back playing after college when he moved to America, linking up with Rochester GAA team. 

"It was the first time I saw the potential of the GAA, as a community for everyone. Rochester Gaelic Club was a completely American-run club and facing some of the same challenges as clubs in Ireland like funding and keeping players involved but also many more nuanced ones like player recruitment." 

After over four years in the United States, he headed to Spain to do an MBA at IE Business School in Madrid. It was a rough year and a half GAA-wise, missing the clash of the ash and the heat of battle. 

"Within two weeks of moving to Amsterdam in early 2016, I was back out on the pitch with Amsterdam GAC. I have been involved with them for the last four years and in that time we have been fortunate enough to win a couple of European titles." 

That included the European double, at 11-a-side and 15-a-side in 2018, before competing in the Leinster Club Championships in Abbottstown. 

Last month he was elected as chair of the European County Board, a 'county' spanning 24 European countries, with 90 clubs and growing. 

"From Marbella to Oslo, Moscow to Amsterdam we continue to see our clubs grow, helped by Cúl Camps in multiple cities, Gaelic football being taught in schools in France and the network of Irish diaspora and natives tuning in every weekend to watch the All-Ireland series. 

"I still milk the cows back when I am back in Glenville, my GAA club is now in Europe, with Amsterdam GAC."

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