Jimmy Barry-Murphy

Jimmy Barry-Murphy

Infobox GAA dualplayer
code= Hurling
sport = Hurling

name = Jimmy Barry-Murphy
irish = "Séamus de Barra-Ó Murchú"
fullname = Jimmy Barry-Murphy
placeofbirth = Bishopstown-Cork| countryofbirth = Ireland
byear= 1954
height =
nicknames = Jimmy Bar, JB, JBM, The King.
county = Cork
province = Munster
club = St. Finbarr's
clpositionh = Forward
clpositionf = Forward
clubs = St. Finbarr's
clyears = 1970s-1980s
clapps(points) =
clcounty =
clallireland =
counties = Cork (F)
Cork (H)
icpositionh = Forward
icpositionf= Forward
icyears = 1973-1980
icapps(points) =
icprovincef = 2
icallirelandh= 5
icallirelandf =1
clupdate =
icupdate =
occupation-Financial DirectorJimmy Barry-Murphy (born 22 August, 1954 in Cork) is a retired Irish sportsman. A dual player, he played hurling and Gaelic football with his local club St. Finbarr's in the 1970s and 1980s. Barry-Murphy was also a member of both the Cork senior inter-county teams in both codes throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Barry-Murphy’s status as one of Cork's all-time greats is self-evident. In a senior inter-county hurling career that lasted for sixteen years he won five All-Ireland titles, ten Munster titles, two National Hurling League titles and one Railway Cup title. Barry-Murphy’s senior inter-county football career lasted for seven years, during which time he collected one All-Ireland title, two Munster titles, one National Football League title and four Railway Cup titles. Barry-Murpy has also been the recipient of many awards and honours off the field. He won seven All-Star awards, five in hurling and two in football, marking him out as one of only a handful of people who have received the awards in both codes.

Barry-Murphy is regarded as one of the most charismatic all-rounder ever to wear the red jersey of Cork. His rise to fame accompanied the arrival of colour television in Ireland, marking him out as one of the first Gaelic games superstars of the modern era. Barry-Murphy had astonishing speed and speed of thought. He was exceptional at creating chances for other players as well as himself. His reflexes were such that when he went for a ball at top speed in hurling he would hit it with his hurley and, no matter where it went, he would snap it as he was already turning.

Barry-Murphy also served as manager of the Cork senior hurling team from 1996 until 2000. He guided his native-county to two Munster titles and an All-Ireland title in 1999 following a victory over Kilkenny.

Early & private life

Jimmy Barry-Murphy was born in Bishopstown in Cork in 1954. Coming from a family of six, including brothers John, Denis, Barry and sisters Miriam and Frances, he was born into a family steeped in the hurling tradition. His granduncle, Dinny Barry-Murphy, captained Cork and won four All-Ireland titles in the 1920s and 1930s. His grandfather, Finbarr, also played with Cork while his late father John won a junior All-Ireland title with Cork in the 1940s. Barry-Murphy was educated locally at Colaiste an Spiorad Naoimh secondary school in Bishopstown, however, his mind was always on sport.

Barry-Murphy currently works for Southern Business Finance where his colleagues include All-Ireland winners Dinny Allen and Brian Murphy. He is married to Jean and they have four children - Brian, Deirdre, Ann and Orla. He lives in Bishopstown.

His son, Brian Barry-Murphy, scored the 1000th goal for Bury F.C. in Tier 4 of the English Football League in a 2-2 draw with Wrexham. This made them the first club to score 1000 goals in all four tiers of the League.

Barry-Murphy is often described as one of the most apprioachable men in the GAA with his easy-going and polite manner. He is renowned for his sharp dress sense and is rarely seen at public events or at his business without a shirt, suit and tie.He lives in the Bishopstown area of Cork.He has a major interest in greyhound racing and currently has a dog Saskatoon entertaining the crowds.He is a director of Cork Greyhound Stadium. He has since sold the dog!

Playing career


Barry-Murphy played his club hurling and football with the famous St. Finbarr's club in Cork. His career got off to an inauspicious start in 1972 when he was sent off in a club game and received a two-month suspension. During this time Barry-Murphy played soccer with his local club, Wilton. He also lined out with Cork Celtic, the losing FAI Cup finalists of 1969, and had a successful few months. He preferred hurling, however, and quickly returned to the club. He won his first senior county hurling title in 1974 and this was quickly converted into a Munster club title. On St. Patricks Day, 1975, he captured an All-Ireland club title following a defeat of the Fenians side from Kilkenny. In 1976 Barry-Murphy won his first county football title. The following year Barry-Murphy captured a second county hurling title. Once again ‘the Barr’s’ later captured both Munster and All-Ireland club hurling titles. Barry-Murphy’s goal from a rebound in the final sealed the victory over Wexford’s Rathnure. In 1979 Barry-Murphy won a second county football title with St. Finbarr's as well as a Munster club football title. Barry-Murphy later won an All-Ireland club football title, making him one of only a handful of people to have national club titles in both codes. 1980 proved to be another successful year for Barry-Murphy. St. Finbarr's captured an elusive double by winning both the football and hurling county titles. Naturally, Barry-Murphy played a huge role in the forward line in these victories. The success continued as the club went on to capture both Munster club titles also and it looked a distinct possibility that 'the Barr's' would become the first side in history to win both the All-Ireland club titles in the same year. While the club won the All-Ireland football title, making it two-in-a-row, not even a late goal from Barry-Murphy could seal a victory over Ballyhale Shamrocks in the hurling final. It was to be Barry-Murphy's last major outing in terms of his club career. In spite of this he added four more county hurling titles to his collection in 1981, 1982, 1984 and 1988. He also helped 'the Barr's' to county football titles in 1982 and 1985.


Barry-Murphy first came to prominence on the inter-county scene as a dual player for Cork at minor level in the early 1970s. He won a Munster hurling title at this level in 1971 before later collecting an All-Ireland medal. He also won a Munster football title that same year. In 1972 Barry-Murphy won a second set of Munster medals in both codes, however, he also captured an elusive All-Ireland football medal in the minor grade. He later joined both the county's under-21 teams, winning Munster and All-Ireland hurling honours in 1973. The following year Barry-Murphy won a Munster football title at under-21 level and in 1975 he captured a second Munster hurling title.

By this stage Barry-Murphy had already joined the Cork senior football team. He was just eighteen tears-old when Cork crushed Kerry in the provincial final, giving him his first senior Munster football title. Cork later lined out in the All-Ireland final against Galway where a teenage Barry-Murphy acted like an old professional, scoring the first of two goals after just two minutes. One of these goals, where Barry-Murphy receives a pass, cheekily solos the ball and waits to pick a spot in the net was chosen as one of RTÉ's Top 20 GAA Moments. Cork defeated Galway in that game and Barry-Murphy collected a coveted All-Ireland football medal. He won a second Munster title in 1984, however, Cork were shocked by Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final. This defeat brought an end to that particular Cork team as Kerry went on to win the next eight provincial finals.

In 1975 Barry-Murphy first lined out for the Cork senior hurling team. That year he won his first Munster title following a comprehensive defeat of Limerick. The side were later surprisingly beaten by Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final who went on to be trounced by Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final. In 1976 Barry-Murphy captured a second Munster title, a victory which allowed Cork advance directly to the All-Ireland final. Wexford provided the opposition and got off to a dream start by scoring 2-2 to no score in the first eight minutes. Cork fought back with Barry-Murphy scoring three points in the last ten minutes to help seal the victory and capture a first senior All-Ireland title. The following year he won a third Munster title following a thrilling victory over Clare. Once again Cork lined out in an All-Ireland final against Wexford. The game was just as exciting as the previous year's with Seánie O'Leary scoring the goal that gave Cork the lead. 'The Rebels' went on to win the game on a score line of 1-17 to 3-8 and Barry-Murphy captured his second All-Ireland title. In 1978 the prospect of completing a first three-in-a-row since the 1950s loomed large for Cork. Barry-Murphy captured a fourth Munster medal as Cork defeated Clare in a close and tense game. Age-old rivals Kilkenny provided the opposition in the championship decider, however, their great team of the 1970s was now in decline. The game ebbed and flowed for much of the seventy minutes with no side breaking away. With thirteen minutes left Barry-Murphy hit a low shot in towards the goal and it bounced in past Noel Skehan. Commentator Michael O'Hehir summed up the significance of the goal by saying "...and Jimmy Barry-Murphy, the scorer of the goal that could win an All-Ireland." The goal turned out to be the deciding factor as Cork went on to win the game and Barry-Murphy captured a third All-Ireland medal in-a-row. In 1979 he won a fifth consecutive Munster title, however, a fourth All-Ireland medal in-a-row proved beyond even this great team as Cork were beaten in the semi-final by Galway.

Cork lost their provincial crown in 1980, however, Barry-Murphy continued with his winning ways. He made history that year by capturing both a National Hurling League and a National Football League title. He won a second National Hurling League title in 1981. In 1982 Cork were back and Barry-Murphy was captain of the team. That year he won a sixth Munster title before leading his men out in the All-Ireland final against Kilkenny. 'The Cats', however, completely overwhelmed Cork who suffered a heavy defeat. Barry-Murphy was still captain in 1983 as he captured his seventh Munster title. In the subsequent All-Ireland final Kilkenny provided the opposition once again. 'The Cats' used a strong wind to build up their lead in the first-half. Two goals from Tomás Mulcahy and Seánie O'Leary nearly saved the day for Cork, however, Kilkenny hung on to win by two points. In 1984 Cork continued to dominate the provincial championship and Barry-Murphy won an eighth Munster medal. This victory allowed Cork to advance to the centenary year All-Ireland final against Offaly at Semple Stadium. In the one hundred year history of the Gaelic Athletic Association these two teams had never met in the championship. The stakes were high for Cork as no team had ever lost three All-Ireland finals in-a-row. Offaly put up a good fight, however, it was Cork's day and Barry-Murphy captured a fourth All-Ireland medal. The following year he won a ninth Munster medal as Cork narrowly defeated Tipperary in the provincial final. Galway, however, put an end to Cork's championship hopes in the All-Ireland semi-final for the third time in ten years. In 1986 Cork won a fifth consecutive Munster title following a victory over Clare. As a result of this win Barry-Murphy equalled John Doyle's record of ten provincial winners' medals. Cork later faced Galway in the All-Ireland final. In a thrilling game the Munstermen hung on to win by four points, giving Barry-Murphy a fifth All-Ireland hurling medal.

This was Barry-Murphy's seventh and last All-Ireland final appearance. On April 2, 1987 he announced his retirement from inter-county hurling. The announcement, edged in black, was spread across page one of the newspapers in a style more familiar to the death of world leaders. The first modern Gaelic games superstar had finally hung up his boots.


Barry-Murphy also lined out with Munster in the Railway Cup inter-provincial hurling and football competitions. With the footballers he ended up on the winning side in 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978. He won a Railway Cup hurling medal in 1981.

Managerial career

In retirement from inter-county activity Barry-Murphy became a popular analyst on "The Sunday Game" in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In the mid-1990s he took charge of the Cork minor hurling team. Barry-Murphy oversaw an upturn in success for the county in this grade. In his first year in charge in 1994 he guided the county to a Munster title, however, his side were later defeated by Galway in the All-Ireland final. In 1995 Barry-Murphy's side retained their Munster title. The subsequent championship decider saw Cork take on old rivals Kilkenny. On this occasion the All-Ireland title went to Barry-Murphy's team.

Barry-Murphy's success at minor level lead him to being appointed manager of the Cork senior team in late 1995. The appointment of Tom Cashman and Johnny Crowley as selectors lead to the managerial team being referred to as the 'dream team.'

1996: First season

Barry-Murphy's tenure in charge of his county's senior team got off to a less than successful start. In their opening game of the Munster Championship Cork were defeated by Limerick at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Even more humiliating was the fact that it was the first time in 75 years that Cork had been beaten at home in the championship.

1997: Improvement

Things improved slightly in 1997. In the Munster semi-final Cork were trailing Clare by a single point and looked capable of winning or at least securing a draw. With just a few second remaining Clare scored a goal and ended Cork's championship hopes for another year.

1998: National League success

Defeats in the previous two seasons put Barry-Murphy and his selectors under pressure to deliver. A successful National Hurling League campaign saw Cork reach the final of that competition and defeat Waterford in the final. This success meant that the team went into the championship with great expectations, however, the Munster semi-final saw Clare defeat Cork on a score line of 0-21 to 0-14. For the sixth year in-a-row Cork had failed to make it to the All-Ireland series.

1999: Munster and All-Ireland success

1999 was make-or-break year for Barry-Murphy. He introduced a host of new players and one of the youngest Cork teams ever took to the field in the championship. The Munster final saw Cork take on Clare, a team that had defeated them at the semi-final satge in 1997 and 1998. Clare entered the game as the red-hot favourites and as possible All-Ireland contenders, however, a younger Cork team finally triumphed and Barry-Murphy finally lead his team to a senior Munster title. Cork defeated reigning All-Ireland champions Offaly by three points in the All-Ireland semi-final before reaching the championship decider with Kilkenny. The game, played in atrocious conditions, proved to be an anti-climax. Cork were victorious by a single point and Barry-Murphy had finally lead his county back to the All-Ireland title.

2000: Final season

In 2000 Barry-Murphy's Cork retained their Munster title. In spite of Tipperary scoring three goals Cork outscored Tipp by 0-23 to 3-12. Once again, the experts predicted a Cork-Kilkenny final, however, Offaly were waiting in the All-Ireland semi-final and duly defeated Cork. This was Barry-Murphy's last game in charge as he resigned as manager shortly afterwards.




* Colm Keane, "Hurling's Top 20", (Mainstream Publishing, 2002).

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