Castleisland’s Darkest Week in Years as Gerdie Leaves the Stage

Guards of honour were mounted by Presentation Secondary School, Castleisland; St. Mary’s Basketball Club and Castleisland Desmonds GAA Club as Gerard ‘Gerdie’ Murphy’s funeral cortege left the Church of Saints Stephen and John for St. John’s Cemetery just before 1pm on Monday afternoon. ©Photograph: John Reidy
In his natural habitat. Gerard ‘Gerdie’ Murphy pictured in his Master of Ceremonies role in which he excelled during the 2016 White Collar Boxing / Brawl in the Hall fundraiser at Castleisland Community Centre during the summer of 2016. ©Photograph: John Reidy 8-7-2016

There wasn’t a student or a child at a desk in Castleisland on Monday from shortly after noon to well beyond 1pm.

Then, the funeral cortege of the late Gerard ‘Gerdie’ Murphy made its way from the Church of Saints Stephen and John, up through Main Street to the other side of the town to St. John’s Cemetery in Kilbanivane.

There wasn’t a student or a child who didn’t know the man in whose honour they stood on the roadsides outside their schools as his remains passed by in a hearse driven by his lifelong friend Bernard Tangney.

Streets of Respect

Children and teachers from the various schools along the route of the cortege lined the streets on which he took his final journey.

On Church Street there were students from Presentation Castleisland and Muire Gan Smál. On College Road, bhí na daltaí ó Gaelscoil Aogáin amach with St. Patrick’s Secondary and, at the top of the hill, the boys of the ‘Boys National’ and their teachers were also out in force.

Guards of honour by St. Mary’s Basketball Club and Castleisland Desmonds GAA Club flanked the hearse on the journey from the church to the cemetery led by Eamon Egan and Kevin Lynch respectively.

The terrible news from Killarney Road on Thursday morning put anything and everything else in the context to which it belonged.

Little Things Became Irrelevant

All the little things became instantly irrelevant as the people of the town and district realised that we had lost one of our great community servants with the sudden and unexpected loss of Gerdie.

It was a dark week in Castleisland and the black clouds will prevail for a long time as people come to fully realise the extent of the loss of a man who did all he humanly could for individuals, clubs and community as event MC, spokesman and much more.

As they did on Sunday evening, people milled around in groups in the bright sunshine of Monday afternoon and wondered and tried to make sense of the finality and the swiftness of how he left us.

Tributes Broadcast and Whispered

Tributes, broadcast from the altar during his funeral Mass and those whispered by the walkers along the funeral route were all about the obliging, ever cheerful, always helpful Gerdie and the unique father and son combination he formed with his father and sports shop business founder Vincent.

Fr. Mossie Brick officiated with Fr. Seán Horgan, Fr. John Ahern and the late Georgie O’Callaghan’s great cross channel friend Fr. David Lupton travelled for the funeral.

Fr. Brick told the congregation that it was in Vincent Murphy’s Sports Shop that Georgie and Fr. Lupton first met and the rest is a history that so many shared.

Paying Their Respects

Gerdie’s close friend Dara Ó Cinnéide came to pay his respects as did Maurice Fitzgerald and Donie Buckley from different directions. They linked up with their locally based equals Dr. Dave Geaney and Charlie Nelligan on the somber occasion for all concerned.

The late Georgie O’Callaghan’s funeral on April 19th 2018 was a big affair and I hope they meet in the great blue yonder and have a chat about which of them had the biggest funeral in Castleisland.

As local man Diarmuid Brosnan correctly pointed out, Georgie and Gerdie died on the same date: Georgie on April 17th 2018 and Gerdie on April 17th 2024.

May God be good to two great men who certainly left their mark on club and community affairs in Castleisland while they were able.

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