FORMER Cork County Board Secretary, Frank Murphy was one of the first to pay tribute to the late Tommy Lynch who was head groundsman at Pairc Ui Chaoimh and Pairc Ui Rinn for many years.
Mr Lynch, who was held in very high esteem by the GAA fraternity in Cork and far beyond, passed away on Wednesday after serving the GAA on Leeside in many different roles but primarily as a devoted groundsman.
Mr Murphy told the Echo that he was a wonderful ambassador for Cork GAA who gave great service to the Association.
“The passing of Tommy marks the end of an era for the GAA here in Cork. He gave great service for many, many years maintaining the grounds at Pairc Ui Chaoimh and Pairc Ui Rinn.
“He was a man very conscious of his responsibilities and he took great pride in his work.
“He saw Pairc Ui Chaoimh being developed into the great stadium that it now is, he was there for the closing of the old Pairc Ui Chaoimh and the opening of the new one.’’ The long-serving former County Secretary said that he was a hugely popular figure with both the players and administrators and that he took great pride in the successes that were achieved.
“All the players had a great time for Tommy and on trips abroad in the aftermath of All-Ireland victories he was great company for everyone and his presence enhanced those occasions.
“He had a great sense of humour, he was a very witty person too and a very inoffensive individual who made great friends down the years.
“I recall him having a great rapport with the late Canon Michael O’Brien. There was a great friendship between the two of them and there was great banter between them as well.’’ He was, according to Mr Murphy, a volunteer in every sense of the word.
“Yes indeed. The GAA has been built on the voluntary effort of so many and Tommy was certainly one of the best in that regard.
“He worked tirelessly for the GAA in Cork, in both stadiums and his work was appreciated by so many.
“He was small in stature but huge in presence and he will certainly not be forgotten by all of us who dealt with him.
“He regularly went on a journey to Australia to see his daughter and that was a big undertaking in his advancing years but it was something that he looked forward to very much.’’ Mr Murphy said.
Former long serving Cork County Board Treasurer, Pearse Murphy also had very warm words of praise for the late Mr Lynch.
He told the Echo that was a hugely faithful servant to Cork GAA and a very committed person.
“He was, without doubt. He often went beyond the call of duty in his work, often working seven days a week and there was never a word.
“He was a constant presence in Pairc Ui Chaoimh and in Pairc Ui Rinn, he was in charge of the gear for the players for a good while and he never missed a training session in that time.
“He was ultra dependable, a man who gave the GAA here in Cork great service.
“He was a very popular person with the players and with the various Board members that were there during his time.
“We will all miss him, he was a great friend to all of us.’’ The late Mr Lynch had many friends throughout his time in both Pairc Ui Chaoimh and Pairc Ui Rinn and one of them was Brian Dillons clubman Derek Connolly who worked alongside him in both stadiums.
“Tommy was a legend in the truest sense of the word. St Vincent’s was his club and he served many roles in both stadiums.
“He was a scoreboard operator with the late Jimmy O’Rourke before taking over the groundsman duties.
“That was a labour of love for him and he took fierce pride in that work. Both the Cork players, hurlers and footballers and the various executives that he served under down the years had a great time for him.
“He always travelled on the team bus to Thurles, Limerick on big match days and he looked after the gear for the players.
“The County Secretary Frank Murphy had great trust in him and on the day of a big match in either Pairc Ui Chaoimh or Pairc Ui Rinn he always ensured that the venue was in pristine condition..
“He had friends everywhere, many of them outside of Cork and for me personally it was a privilege to have had him as a friend.
“It’s a sad day for everybody who worked alongside him and the GAA in Cork has lost a great individual.’’ Mr Connolly said Warm tributes indeed for a man who had a word for everybody and a welcome too whether it was down the Marina or on the Boreenmanna Road Down through the ages, the GAA on Leeside has been blessed with some outstanding contributors who worked tirelessly for its betterment.
Tommy Lynch was very high up on that list.
May he rest in peace.