There was widespread sadness following the recent death of Gerald (Ger) Murphy, who passed away on September 29 following illness.
This was particularly felt in Corish Park and Clonard where Ger lived most of his life and was a well-loved and respected member of the community.
Ger was born in Abbey Street in December 1928, son of Edward (Ned) Murphy and Catherine Murphy (nee Healy). Ger was one of eleven children and was the last surviving male member of his family before he passed away. He is predeceased by his brothers Jack, Joe and Pascal and sisters Sheila, Breda, Una, Catherine and Nancy. Mai Flynn (Wexford) and Eileen Sinnott (London) are the last surviving members of the family.
Ger attended Wexford CBS as a young boy. This is where he discovered his love of Gaelic football and he ended up playing for the Selskar young Irelands. All of his family were actively involved with the club, whether through playing or supporting.
Ger played for the Wexford Junior Football team in 1950 along with other members of the Young Ireland Football Club - Bernard McGuinness, Paddy Doris, John Roche and Tom McGuinness. Ger remained good friends with Monsignor "Rory" Deane from Bunclody. The Wexford team were beaten by Dublin 1-15 to 2-8. Most of the Dublin team went on to win senior All-Ireland titles later in the decade.
The Murphy family were very well-known and respected throughout Wexford town. His father Ned, originally from Kerry, opened a small shoe repair shop on the main street. Ned was a skilled shoe and boot maker and passed on that skill to his sons. Although not employed in the shop, Ger would occasionally be asked to use his skill to make footwear for people with specialist needs. Ger's sons will also tell you that the first pair of football boots they were given were made by their Dad.
Ger married Maureen (Cleary) and moved to Corish Park in 1956 where Ger and Maureen, who sadly passed away in 1995, lovingly raised a family of six children - Padraig, Jackie, Ger, Nicholas, Noel and Eamon.
Times were tough in those early years when they were raising a family of six and seeking employment. Ger was prepared to "get on his bike" to find work and would regularly cycle from Wexford Town to Wellingtonbridge and Rosslare to work on the railway. Having finished work on the railway, Ger worked as a machine operator in the Star but later transferred to Pierces Foundry when the Star closed. He spent most of his working life at Pierces where he became a respected member of the Trade Union. He was a dedicated shop steward and branch chairman and later he became branch president of the Amalgamated Engineering Union. He received an Order of Merit from the union signed by two well-known figures in the union movement named Bill Jordan and Gavin Laird. This was for long and outstanding service to the trade union movement.
He was a tough negotiator and not easily swayed but was respected by both union members and management for his realistic approach to negotiations. He would regularly speak of his time with the union and his friendship with Simon Kirwan.
Ger retired from Pierces in 1993.
Ger was an avid sports fan but his passion was horse racing. During his retirement years he spent many a happy morning putting a couple of euros on the horses and watching the racing in the afternoon. He loved Gaelic games and the intercounty clashes but complained that Gaelic football had lost most of its passion and excitement and was 'bring destroyed' with too much hand passing.
Ger loved his church and his religion and would attend mass twice per day. He was one of a group who would recite the Rosary on a daily basis. He walked to mass most days with his good friends Phil Siggins, Jim Gafney, Kevin Tierney and Richie Mahoney. Phil Siggins is now the only surviving member of that group, affectionately known as the last of the summer wine.
Ger suffered with back and knee problems for a number of years but in that time he was assisted with transport by his good friends and neighbours, particularly Phil and Bred Siggins, Maureen Kinsella, Billy Burke, and Mary and John French. He was very proud of his great grandchildren and looked forward to their visits on Sundays. They referred to him as 'the old Grandad Ger'. He was particularly proud when his grandson Brian and his partner Josephine had their son 18 months ago as he said it was great to have four generations of Murphy men in one room.
Ger was admitted to hospital on August 5 following a stroke and sadly passed away on September 29 having suffered two further strokes.
He was a dedicated family man and loving father and will be sadly missed by his daughter and five sons, 13 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren, two sisters, relatives and friends.
May he rest in peace.