Newry Times GAA Special: Conor Murphy on his love of Gaelic football
Monday, February 18th, 2013
In the first of our new weekly features, Newry Times caught up with Sinn Fein MP Conor Murphy to speak about his love of, and life in, Gaelic football.
Earliest memories: My father taking myself and my brothers to an Abbey school match (McCrory Final I think) in Casement Park. We had little interest in the match and spent our time making rattles with empty Coke cans and stones, although I remember that the Abbey lost.
GAA Career: I played up to minor level with Carrickcruppen, winning an U-16 County championship medal. I also have an all-Ireland U-19 medal with Newry Tech. At senior level I have played with Shane O’Neills, winning a Junior Championship medal in 1994.
Best day on GAA field: The Newry Tech All-Ireland final in 1981 because it was my only time in Croke Park as a player although I probably received more pleasure from coaching the Shane O’Neills U-14 team who were both Armagh Feile and County Champions in 2007.
Club I’m attached to: Shane O’Neills GFC in Camlough, as a former player, under-age coach and club member.
Armagh memories: Obviously the All-Ireland final in 2002, the match itself and the home-coming will live with me forever. One of the best Armagh displays I have seen was in a National League match in Davitt Park in 1980 (I think) when Armagh gave the famous ‘four in a row’ Kerry team a footballing lesson.
Players who left a lasting impression: McGrane and McGeeney for their absolute commitment to the County team. Jack O’Shea, not the tallest mid-fielder but probably the best. Benny Coulter and Peter Canavan for the sheer anticipation every time they touched the ball.
Gaelic games and the wider community in the North: A lot is already being done by the Ulster Council through their outreach programme with the unionist community and new nationals.
Gaels can always improve on ways of making our games and our Association more attractive to others but the core values of the Association are what makes it so strong and those are not a barrier to anyone who wants to become involved.
Development of games in the North: Continue the coaching at all age levels, in all schools and encouraging families to become involved in clubs.
Politics and sport: They are not mutually exclusive but the GAA is above party politics and that will continue to serve it well.
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