A sit down with Dr. Con Murphy – Team Doctor (UCC and Cork)

Report by Adrian McGearty

Having had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Con Murphy, I had the pleasure to ask him a number of questions relating to his time as a student in UCC. Dr Con was kind enough to give an insight into his background within the college to his own involvement as a member of the backroom staff under previous UCC managers over the last 40 years.

Dr Con was humble to say he was an intermediate player at best but was capable of filling a role in senior set up when there were injuries. On finishing up as a student in 1973, he noted that the club he had previously affiliated with ‘The Lee’s’, were disbanded so he chose to stay aligned to UCC. In his time, he was fortunate to play with the likes of Irish rugby international, Moss Keane. His friend, Dr. Paddy Crowley, who had been involved with the hurlers, also stayed on when The Lee’s disbanded.

“When I left college, I stayed with UCC Football Club. Dr. Paddy Crowley and myself stayed with the hurling and Football. We participated in a coaching capacity. I was a selector for both the Fitzgibbon and Sigerson cup teams .”

When Dr. Con was an undergraduate, Dr Paddy Fitzgerald undertook the running of the UCC GAA teams. He was a great man who got students involved. Denis Leahy acted as the physical trainer but Dr. Fitzgerald was noted for his attention to detail and his ability to attract students to play. Canon Michael O’ Brien, who taught Dr. Con at Farranferris, was an extraordinary character. He noted that the feat of 8 straight Fitzgibbon trophies would not be repeated in this day and age.

“Dr Paddy Fitzgerald ran the football during his time. He was a great man. The character displayed and the style of football he wished to play heralded a new dawn for UCC Sport.”

When the discussion got onto the Skull and Bones symbol on the crests of the jersey’s, Dr Con noted that it was his favourite kit as the symbol itself endorsed inclusion. It had become popular with students who togged out for the college from different parts of Munster and further afield. The pride aspect with the shirt was huge, according to Dr, Con. The idea that there was a great coming together of different players from different counties led for a great unifying factor taking place.  Whilst Dr. Con had a role on the administrative side of the club, he got no greater delight than to tog out amongst the calibre of player that donned the red and black jersey during his time as an undergraduate.

“The significance of the skull and bones. It’s my favourite jersey. It’s a wonderful symbol.
The symbolism, the pride in the shirt. Coming together. The jersey is a great unifying factor.”

On asking him on the status of the dual player and whether that role was being capable of being filled within a college capacity, he noted that the increased level of training being completed on an intercounty level made this impossible to occur. He noted that there won’t be a return of the dual player on the college front as rigorous training sessions have prevented students playing a role on dual front.

According to Dr Con, “the biggest change to occur is the amount of training all teams are doing”. Dr Con was keen to note the greater divide amongst the elitist model being operated by some counties and those other counties there to compete,

“It will be Interesting to see new ideas working out this year. Separate seasons for the club to reduce the amount of injuries. There is an elitist model – stronger counties will get stronger.” He is happy with the culture at UCC GAA, where he sees a situation where anyone who is available plays.