Fr. Murphy's G.A.A. club members in London will be looking forward to the new year more than most, as the outfit with strong Wexford origins will celebrate its 60th year in 2018.
As part of their celebrations they will be crossing the Irish Sea to Enniscorthy for the Easter weekend to hold a reunion dinner and dance in The Riverside Park Hotel on Saturday, March 31.
Fr. Murphy's hurling and football club was formed at a meeting held on November 12, 1958, at the Robert Peel public house in Kilburn, north-west London. The first A.G.M. was held one week later, where the committee was elected.
The original idea of forming the club was to have a Wexford men's hurling and football team in London for the exiles heading over to work and live. It wasn't long before the club members were making their mark on the London hurling scene, winning the Junior league and championship in 1959, the Intermediate league and championship in 1960, and a Senior league at their first attempt in 1961.
The club continued to be competitive in both codes throughout the decades, winning many leagues and championships, and in 1988 they started a ladies' football team with a camogie team to follow ten years later.
In 1999 Fr. Murphy's became the first and only team, to date, in London, to field Senior teams in hurling, football, ladies' football and camogie.
The new millennium proved to be an exciting period in the club's history, with the hurlers capturing their first Senior championship in 2000. They went on to capture three more titles and rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in Senior club championship hurling in Sixmilebridge, Dunloy and Newtownshandrum, giving the latter an almighty scare in Ruislip in 2003.
The hurlers also captured an All-Ireland sevens title in Kilmacud and won numerous leagues and cups as well as All-Britain finals in the 2000s.
The footballers made a Senior semi-final but as the years dragged on it proved harder and harder to keep a dual club going and unfortunately the football team no longer exists.
The ladies' football and camogie teams, not to be outdone, achieved a remarkable Senior double-double in 2007 and 2008 and went on to claim to a few more Senior championships in both codes. The ladies' football and camogie teams have remained competitive and frequently contest championship semi-finals and cup finals.
The latest hurling championship triumph came in the 2016 Intermediate championship final, securing victory by one point after being six down with eight minutes remaining.
Fr. Murphy's are still true to their Wexford roots as all teams still proudly wear the purple and gold (including the newly re-formed under-age club), and the club has a healthy Wexford contingent representing them, along with players from all over Ireland and London.
Throughout their history they have been represented by nearly every club in Wexford. Club officials are now calling on all those who represented Fr. Murphy's or their family members to join them for the celebrations on Saturday, March 31.
Tickets are €50 or £45 and may be purchased from the following contact details - London: Jim Howlin Snr. (0044 7932 723780); Seán Howlin (0044 7450 474425 or email@example.com); Wexford: Patricia Casey, Oylegate (087-743 9860); John Ryan, Enniscorthy (086-8250169). Payment up front is required.
Any players heading to London in 2018, please contact us on the London numbers or you can follow the club on Facebook - frmurphys.
There's a commemorative jersey on sale to mark the 60th year. It's a mash of club playing kits down through the years, and is available to order in all adult sizes and in short- or long-sleeved. Please contact Seán Howlin if you would like to order one.