The dedicated service that Phelim Murphy gave to Galway GAA was acknowledged when he was conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Law by NUIG at a special ceremony last week.
Thankfully Phelim, who is now in advanced years and in poor health, was able to attend this special event and was joined by his family and friends.
Phelim Murphy became a hurling administrating legend during his time of involvement as Secretary of Galway Hurling Board. However by the time he took up that role Phelim had already given a lifetime of service to the GAA.
Phelim lived all his life in Waterview, Turloughmore and as the only son, took over the running of the family farm straight after school, when his father passed away at a young age.
Having played junior hurling with the club, t was as an administrator that Phelim would make his greatest contribution. Having only had national school education was never going to be a drawback for a man with ambition to succeed.
Phelim was involved in the amalgamation of Turloughmore club in 1956 when the four teams of the parish came together to play under the name Turloughmore.
Following the amalgamation of the club in 1956, the club would go on to win the Galway senior hurling championship for the first time. Phelim was club delegate and cycled to meetings all over the county with the late Larry Doyle.
In 1960 he took, over as chairman of Turloughmore club and it would become a time of unprecedented success in Turloughmore.
In 1961 Turloughmore won the Galway senior hurling championship for a second time when they stopped a great Fohenagh team from winning three in a row.
That success would only be the start and the following year Turloughmore retained the title after a replay against the legendary Castlegar and they made it three in a row when they defeated Fohenagh again in 1963.
Although reputed to be robust on the field of play, after Turloughmore defeated Ballinasloe in 1964, Turloughjmore defeated Ballinasloe in 1964, Turloughmore players went and carried Ballinasloe players Cyril Dunne and Sean Meade shoulder high off the field as they had helped Galway win the Sam Maguire Cup just weeks earlier.
Phelim Murphy knew that the future of the club and hurling was in bringing youth through and when Coiste Iomana na nOg was set up in 1965, Phelim immediately set about putting out a juvenile team.
While the senior team equalled Castlegar’s record of five in a row of Galway titles in 1965 when they defeated Killiomordaly in a game that was attended by then GAA President Alf Murray, Turloughmore had already captured the Galway Under 14 title, when they broke all records by defeating Mullagh in the Galway final of 1966 that gave Turloughmore six in a row of Galway senior hurling championship titles.
Under the stewardship of Phelim Murphy, Turloughmore continued to develop hurling and although senior success eluded them again, much work was in progress and underage and the club purchased their own grounds in Coolarne.
In 1971 Phelim Murphy was involved in setting up Galway Hurling Board and in 1972 was a selector when Galway won their first All-Ireland U21 hurling title, a feat achieved again in 1978.
In 1981 Phelim took over as Assistant Secretary of Galway Hurling Board and in 1982 took on the role of secretary, a position he held for 23 years.
The county would go on to have tremendous success at all levels under his stewardship. During Phelim Murphy involvement in hurling as a selector and secretary, Galway won eighteen All-Ireland titles, five National Hurling League titles and nine Railway Cup Interprovincvial Hurling Championship titles as well as eight Oirecahtas titles and during his tenure Galway hurlers captured five All Star Awards.
Phelim was Chairman of Kenny Park development committee which saw the redevelopment of the pitch in Athenry in 1985.
Phelim served on Connacht council for fourteen years, holding many key positions and became the first hurling person to serve as President of Connacht council since the legendary Tom Kenny, after whom Kenny Park, Athenry as named.
Phelim served as Vice President of the GAA and held numerous positions on Croke Partk committees including, Management, Disciplinary, Hurling Development and Games Administration Committee.
He was a man who was never afraid of hard work and, having to support fifteen children, his livelihood was potatoes.
Often times he had to leave the potatoes to attend to GAA duties, but often times after returning from a GAA meeting or training would go back out to the shed grading potatoes until the small hours of the morning to make up for the time he lost earlier on GAA duties.
He is now cared for at his home by his wife Nellie and well supported by their fifteen children, 37 grandchildren and 19 great grandhildren.