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'We spent the last three days driving around throwing sliotars into gardens'

Former Sarsfields hurler Ronan Murphy has been busy delivering 150 sliotars to children around Cork this week.

Ronan Murphy before delivering 150 sliotars to youngsters around Cork.
Ronan Murphy before delivering 150 sliotars to youngsters around Cork.
Image: The Castle Bar

WITH PUBS AND restaurants around the country closed, one proprietor is putting his time to good use by supplying young hurlers in Cork with sliotars to keep them busy during these difficult times.

Former Sarsfields hurler Ronan Murphy, co-owner of the Castle Bar in Glanmire, posted a video on the pub’s Facebook page earlier this week promising to deliver sliotars to delighted youngsters around the Rebel County free of charge.

The Castle Bar is located right beside Sarsfields GAA club and their car park is frequently littered with lost sliotars from training sessions in the grounds.  

The hurling and camogie club offered their support by throwing in some extra balls and Murphy spent the past few evenings firing sliotar into 150 gardens for GAA-mad children to practice their skills.

“When the bar shut we were just looking for ideas to keep the brand of the bar in the public eye and we were throwing ideas around,” he told The42 yesterday. 

“I just said we had a box of sliotars there and why don’t we see if people want them or would the kids use them while we’re off. So we developed it from there. We have a very good relationship with Sarsfields – they’re right next door to us. 

“The reaction was massive. We didn’t expect it at all. So we spent the last three days just literally driving around throwing sliotars into gardens. We finished there this morning, we’ve about 150 of them gone out so it’s been good craic and passed the days for us as well.

“Even some houses we went to the kids were waiting in the garden for the sliotar, it was gas. The parents have been sending us videos of them out practicing. They’re in the full gear, boots, helmet – the whole lot. It’s been great.

tadgh-og-murphy-and-ronan-murphy-lift-the-cup Ronan Murphy and Tadgh Og Murphy lift the Cork SHC title in 2014. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

“We worked off postcodes, everyone sent their postcode and we put a spreadsheet together,” he explains.

“There’s a lot of big estates in Glanmire so we hit each estate, highlighted the ones in each estate, did one estate at a time and got through it over a few days. It was enjoyable now to be honest.”

Many inter-county players – including Rebel star Patrick Horgan – have started posting skills videos online for children to practice.

“He’s obviously huge around Cork and he actually lives in Glanmire so a lot of the kids around the place are taking Hoggy’s lead and taking up a few of the challenges so it’s good.”

It’s a difficult period for the hospitality industry and Murphy estimates about 160 of his employees have been left out of work due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

“It is tough. It’s a bit different to a normal shutdown in that everyone is in the same boat so everyone is hoping everyone will get back on their feet together and just weather the storm.

“We had about 160 employees in total across five or six sites, so it is a difficult couple of weeks now. It’s the employees you feel for really, they’re out of work literally overnight.

“In fairness the supports the government are announcing as the days go by are pretty good and they seem to be efficient enough in rolling them out so hopefully it won’t go on for too long.

“And hopefully the impact won’t be too severe and when we do get back open that people will be looking forward to getting back out and about and supporting local businesses and just getting things back on the road.”

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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