SLIGO manager Tony McEntee yesterday led the tributes for Red Óg Murphy after the tragic death of the promising young Gaelic footballer.
The 21-year-old, who had been named on the Sigerson Team of the Year earlier this month after his starring performances for DCU, died suddenly on Friday.
Murphy returned from an Aussie Rules stint with North Melbourne in late 2019 and went on to feature in all 12 of Sligo’s league and Championship games in 2020 and ’21, scoring 1-15 along the way. The Curry clubman was training to be a teacher and had opted off McEntee’s panel for this year to focus on his studies in the capital.
“It’s been a difficult few days to be fair,” said Armagh native McEntee yesterday afternoon, “not so much for me, but for all the team.
“To many of the lads in the squad, he was a good friend and they’ve lost someone who they came up with through the underage ranks, through minor and U20 and then into the seniors together. The team as a whole are still in shock. It’s had a massive impact on all of us.
“It’s clear that he’ll be sorely missed,” the Sligo boss added, “and that’s before we even stop to consider the massive loss he will be to his family and the community of Curry. Our thoughts are all with them at the moment.”
"This is a terrible tragedy for the Murphy family, our club and our community," said Curry chairman Barry Gallagher.
"We are deeply saddened by these events. Our sympathy and thoughts are with the Murphy/Lavin families and friends. Red Óg was a member of Curry GAA club and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
"We have been in contact with his parents and they have requested that we all understand their need for privacy at this difficult time. Offers of support have been pouring in and are greatly appreciated.
“The clubhouse is open to all, to support them and to offer them advice and guidance. We would ask you to respect our privacy at this time.”
“I’m in total shock like everyone else,” said Yeats county footballer Stephen Coen, “A gent, a man that had his world at his feet, an absolute baller but above all a gentle soul who was just saturating his life. My thoughts are with his family, friends and Curry GAC.”
GAA figures from across the country also expressed their shock and sadness at Murphy’s passing over the weekend.
“I watched this boy closely in 2020,” wrote former Kerry star and current Kildare coach Paul Galvin on Twitter, “Beautiful, stylish, rangy footballer with end product. Bless you Red Óg.”
“Shockingly sad news,” tweeted Antrim’s former talisman Paddy Cunningham, “An incredible player with the world at his feet. Thoughts and prayers are with Red Óg’s family at this time. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.”