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11 reasons why Cork people love Jimmy Barry-Murphy

‘Eyes of blue, six foot two, …’

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Jimmy Barry Murphy of Cork and Sylvie Linnane of Galway in 1986. Pic: INPHO/Billy Stickland

1. Put your medals on the table, son

The man must have some mantlepiece at home. 10 Munster hurling titles and two in football; one big-ball Celtic Cross, just the five with the hurlers. Seven All Star awards between the two codes and 10 senior Cork club championships with St Finbarr’s. Not bad, James.

2. Partying like its 1999

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INPHO/Patrick Bolger

After that stellar playing career, JBM returned to public life on Leeside to take over a hurling team that was nowhere.

From a low base he built them up — drafting in new faces like Sean Óg Ó hAilpín, Donal Óg Cusack and Diarmuid O’Sullivan — he led a young Rebels side to an unlikely All-Ireland win in ’99, ending a nine-year drought.

3. He could play a bit of soccer too

JBM lined out with the famous Cork Celtic and son Brian Barry Murphy played for Cork City in the 90s, before signing with Preston North End.

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Pic: INPHO/Andrew Paton

4. He still pops into Mok’s on Barrack Street

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Pic credit

5. He inspired the first GAA terrace chant*

‘Eyes of blue, six foot-two, Jimmy Barry-Murphy, we love you.’

No one said it was particularly imaginative.

*may not be accurate

6. He teamed up with Christy Ring in ’76

And they won Cork’s 22nd All-Ireland hurling title. Cork went on to win a three-in-a-row, as JBM credited the Glen Rovers legend with delivering one of the most inspiring half-time speeches he’d witnessed during the interval in the 1977 Munster final with Clare.

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7. He seems to get on with the boss

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Cork’s manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy celebrates with secretary of the Cork County Board Frank Murphy after the Dublin game. Pic: INPHO/James Crombie

8. He scored goals like this with a sliothar

YouTube: hockeyhurlingshinty2

9. And this with the big ball

YouTube: GAA Archive

This was one of two goals in the 1973 decider.

10. He was a style icon

Three stripes, a crew cut, socks down, shirt out. Whatever.

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11. ‘He’s ours’

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INPHO/Billy Stickland

As Dave Hannigan writes:

“For our generations, coming of age in the 1970s and 1980s, Christy Ring was a black and white story handed down from our fathers and our grandfathers, a reel of sepia footage. Meanwhile, JBM was a living, breathing, technicolour deity who walked among us. The day after watching him perform some wondrous feat like pilfering three goals against Blackrock down the Pairc, you might see him nipping out of Lennox’s chipper on Bandon Road on the way home. He came to our school with the cup. He came there to present medals. He was real, he was genuine, and he was, most importantly of all, ours.”

Read the rest of a great piece by Hannigan, here

What are your favourite JBM memories?

Your GAA championship weekend review

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