John Joe Murray, RIP

Written by admin. Posted in Archive 2016

Published on June 06, 2016 with

JOHN JOE

In an interview with Willie Crowley for the Moorefield Club history, John Joe spoke of how he became involved with the club: as a 14-year-old he began work with Newbridge Cutlery in 1939, the year the second World War began, and in 1940 Jack White, who spotted his talent as an athlete in the Newbridge Athletic Club, asked him to join Moorefield as his speed and height would be a decided advantage on the football field.

John Joe admitted that his football ability fell a little short of Jack’s expectation but he was part of a very successful schoolboys’ team which included the legendary ‘Boiler’ White, later of Kildare and Sarsfields fame. His enthusiasm and abilities were recognised at an early stage by Moorefield officials and he became deeply involved in the administrative affairs of the club.

In the early 1950s he was appointed Assistant Secretary to Billy Curran whom he regarded as ‘a wonderful organiser and mentor’. John Joe held the following positions between 1955 and 1994:

  • Secretary: 1955-64, 1970

  • Chairperson: 1965-68, 1981-84, 1994

  • Treasurer: 1956-63

  • President: 1986-90

As Treasurer, John Joe was very conscious of the need to fund team expenses, improve the clubrooms and look to the future. The Annual Moorefield Christmas Hamper was his brainchild and since the 1950s is as much part of Christmas as Santa or a visit to the Crib. With many helpers, he organised Friday Dances, Carnivals and raffles too numerous to count. He was absolutely meticulous in keeping accounts and his children were regularly tasked with the responsibility of keeping a tally of the number of people who went on the ‘Bumpers’ or other attractions at carnival time.

As the GAA Centenary approached, and the Association was encouraging clubs to develop their own facilities, John Joe advanced the idea of purchasing enough land for pitches and a clubhouse to cater for the growing number of players and teams following on from the success of the youth development plan pioneered by Gerry Moran, Seanie Whyte and many others.

The decision to sell the existing clubrooms on Moorefield Road was hotly debated over several meetings, but John Joe persisted and finally carried the vote. With Alex Whelan and Davy Dennis he undertook the task of locating a site for the future of Moorefield. The sale of the two-roomed facility covered the cost of the original Pollardstown site thus paving the way for the modern club grounds and ancillary facilities which we enjoy today.

Along with the youth development, the move to Pollardstown, and its official opening by GAA President John Dowling on 19 June 1984, laid the physical foundation for the unprecedented success that Moorefield has enjoyed since the early 1990s: seven Senior Championship titles from 2000 to 2014: numerous Reserve titles; Senior and Intermediate Hurling successes; a string of Underage titles in all grades as well as the ongoing development and success of Camogie and Ladies Football.

John Joe Murray made an inestimable contribution to these developments and successes. He was immensely proud of them and his role in the process is beyond monetary value: John Joe was an inspiration to all who knew him… but you had to be on solid ground if you did not agree with his point of view! He never shirked responsibility and never held back when defending the cause.

For a man who began his sporting career as an athlete with Newbridge Athletic Club, and then got involved in Moorefield GAA Club, John Joe could certainly have said in the words of St Paul, ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith’. May he now enjoy the rewards of a long and fruitful life and may his family – and we in the Moorefield Club – have many happy memories of a life well lived, at times a life of trials in difficult economic circumstances but a life filled with achievement, satisfaction and faithfulness.