Leo Murphy, Northern Irish Gaelic footballer, Died at 78


Leo Murphy was born in 1939 in Kilkeel, County Down and died on February 21, 2017.

He was a Northern Irish Gaelic footballer.

Murphy’s league and championship career with the Down senior team spanned ten seasons from 1957 to 1967.

He was widely regarded as one of the greatest players of his era.

He excelled at Gaelic football as a boarder at St Colman’s College in Newry.

While Murphy was there, he won a MacRory Cup medal in 1957, however, an All-Ireland medal remained elusive.

He started his club football career with Lisnacree before playing with Kilkeel and winning a county junior championship medal with the club.

Murphy ended his club career with Rostrevor in 1975.

He made his debut on the inter-county scene at the age of sixteen when he was selected for the Down minor team.

Murphy enjoyed two championship seasons with the minor team, but, he was an Ulster runner-up in 1957.

Subsequently, he joined the Down junior team, winning an Ulster medal in 1958.

At that time, Murphy had also joined the Down senior team, making his debut during the 1957 Dr. Lagan Cup.

Ove the next ten seasons, Murphy won back-to-back All-Ireland medals in 1960 and 1961.

Murphy also won six Ulster medals and two National Football League medals.

Murphy played his last game for Down in August 1967 when an injury forced his retirement from the inter-county activity.

When he was picked on the Ulster inter-provincial team in 1962, Murphy was an automatic choice on the starting fifteen for the following few seasons, where he won two Railway Cup medals.

Whilst in retirement from playing Murphy combined his teaching career with a new role as a coach and manager.

Murphy took charge of the St. Colman’s Lisnacree, Kilkeel and Rostrevor club sides in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

He was captain of Ulster Polytechnic in the All-Ireland Freshers’ Championship in 1983-84, he was also at the helm in 1985 as the college entered the Sigerson Cup for the first time.