AFTER nearly four decades involved with his beloved Crosshaven FC, Seamus Murphy continues to put so much back into the club that has given him and his family so much joy over the years.
Murphy is the current first-team manager but throughout the years he has held numerous of positions, from player to coach and from PRO, secretary, vice-chairman to chairman. And with each role, he has left his mark.
He's a remarkable club man who was hugely influenced by his father.
“I’ve been involved with Crosshaven from the age of eight and I think it was inevitable that I’d end up playing football and coaching.
"My father was and still is a huge influence, he played into his late 30’s and he also coached so we ended up travelling to all the home games in the Bog as well as numerous away games all over the city and this really developed my love for the game and the club.
“My mother also had a huge interest and one of my earliest memories is of her listening to Manchester United on BBC Radio 5 in the kitchen while ironing with the sound coming and going as anyone whoever listened to medium wave radio would understand!
"My grandfather, Peadar Byrne was on the Crosshaven side that won the first-ever AOH Cup in 1952 along with my grand-uncle Donie Kelly. My uncles Mattie, Noel, Mick Byrne and Martin McCarthy were all top players and all played in goal at some point. Mattie probably lifted every trophy there was to win from the Munster Youths Cup to the MSL Premier Division while Michael made the Irish U15 squad in goal where he played on a team that included Ray Treacy.
“My cousins all played as did my two older brothers Micheal and Colm. Crosshaven was awash with Cork footballing superstars like the Venners, Buzz O’Connell, Bobby Tambling, the McGoverns, Eddie O’Donovan, the O’Driscolls and Mulcahys to name a few.
On the field, he played in goal mainly.
"I’d love to say with the same distinction as the rest of my family but it must have skipped a generation sadly so by the time I was 24 I had joined the committee after an invite from then-chairman Noel Condon. He was great to learn from and was forward-thinking but a referee's nightmare!
"Noel never had an issue pushing and promoting new ideas and was constantly looking to improve the club. His right-hand men were Pat Quinn, now vice-chair of the MSL, Willie Meade and the irreplaceable Michael ‘Savvy’ Long (RIP).
"Over the next number of years I took various roles from PRO to secretary, vice-chairman before eventually replacing Noel as chairman, a position I held for 10 years working with some fabulous people, too many to mention before stepping aside for current chairman Stephen Kiely in 2016.”
It certainly started as a family affair and continues to be so with Murphy’s wife Christine a former player and a huge supporter of the club along with their three boys Shay, Hughie and Bobby. All three are very gifted athletes.
The club continues to develop and the recent addition of a new astro pitch has been a huge attraction. Murphy is grateful to the hard-working committee for such top class facilities.
“The new astro is superb and an absolute credit to Stephen, Ray Connolly [secretary] and the entire committee who took on this monster project with the guidance of Dave Cotter and Colum O’Dwyer. I’m sure the lads will tell you that without the support of local politicians and the wider community these projects cannot happen but they got there and the players love it.
“The club currently has teams at every age group from U7 to U15, U17 and two adult sides so the new facility was hugely welcomed.
“We also have four dressing rooms, clubhouse with a meeting room, a storage garage, two full sizes pitches, one is grass and the second is a full size 4G astro and we also have a smaller 40x30m astro. So we certainly are in a good place.”
Like everyone involved in sport, the past 12 months have been difficult and for Murphy it’s no different but he is optimistic about a return soon.
"Sport is the heartbeat of all communities, no matter what sport it is. The experiences of playing and enjoying sport with your friends can’t be beaten.
"I’ve been with the first team since last June working alongside my long-term and trusted assistant Stuart Finn who has been coaching with me for over 10 years. Former Swansea City trainee Ray Merchant who has been with us for three years also made the step up although the lads struggle with his accent!
"However, we are all really looking forward to getting back on the pitch and hopefully it’s sooner rather than later.”