When my good friend, Lalin Swaris, asked me to write a piece on, Mick Murphy, I personally didn’t know the man as I am only a ‘blow-in’; therefore I had to do a bit of research and ask other people. What became clear as I learnt more about Mick Murphy was that he is a family man, a volunteer who likes to help in the community, he loves basketball, and that he is loved and respected by all.
I contacted Longford Falcons Basketball Club for some background into the history of Mick’s involvement with the sport of basketball in the local community. This is what they told me.
‘Mick Murphy, is known locally as Longford’s Mr Basketball! He is a proud Kerry man who introduced basketball to Longford in 1973/1974. He is the founder of, Longford Falcons Basketball club and the hugely successful, Longford Basketball Academy. The club was known as Longford Juvenile BBC back then with the first club teams being Boys / Girls U16. Since then and every Saturday morning the club runs a very successful Academy programme. Mick has coached thousands of kids down through the years, many of whom have represented Ireland and even played professionally. He is one of the most successful basketball coaches in Ireland. Mick has achieved All Ireland success from Community Games level with, St. Mel’s College, where he was head coach for over 20 years to Senior National League level with Falcons. He has also been involved with Irish national teams. Mick is an international basketball referee who is highly regarded as one of the best in the country. He is also the founder of one of the biggest national schools’ basketball competitions in Ireland where hundreds of kids compete in Longford every year. Mick is a genuinely passionate sports coach who has always cared for every player both on and off the court. He has been recognised for his contribution by numerous individual sports awards and Longford Person of the Year awards. He was inducted into Longford Sports Hall of Fame in 2012 for his contribution to sport in Longford. The award was presented to him by, Paul McGrath. Mick Murphy, is a living legend!’
So what was Mick Murphy like as a coach and a referee? Well, here are a few fond recollections from people who knew/ know him well.
‘I first met Mick about 1980. I was playing National League with Ballina Basketball Club and Mick was a referee in the league. He was a very good one, always willing to talk to the players and explain his call, unlike some other refs!!
Then when I started coaching, Westaro Castlebar, Mick was still reffing all over the country. I was always willing to dispute a call with him, as a coach now, and him me, without him calling the dreaded technical foul on the coach! We have been friends for years. As well as coaching, Mick has been busy coaching underage basketball in Longford along with his son, another great friend, Mick Junior! He was always available to play friendlies and running tournaments.
His wife, Marian, was also involved in basketball, making tea, making us all welcome.
In my estimation, Mick is one of the nicest people I have ever met in basketball circles, a true gentleman, and someday will be inducted into the Basketball Ireland Hall Of Fame which he more than well deserves, for his hard work and commitment to the game of basketball.’ – Patrick Terence Kennedy
‘I have known Mick through basketball over the years through club basketball and my time as an administrator in Basketball Ireland, I always found him to be a great enthusiast for the game and the players in the club. Now as a taxi driver in Dublin when you get chatting to customers from Longford and basketball gets mentioned, they speak highly of him and his legacy in the community.’ – Jerome Howe
‘I always loved going to referee in the Mall in Longford. There was just something special about that gym was there. I got to referee with this guy for the first time and many many times afterwards all over the country; a fantastic referee, true gentleman and a great friend.’ – John Folan
‘Legend! He coached me as a kid, a teenager and an adult; then I coached with him U14/16/18 senior men, women, national league etc. It was all voluntary.’ – Alan Moore
So to sum up… who is Mick Murphy the man?
‘Mick is a great basketball man and very much into his community, a great working man for everyone and a family man. He is always doing good for everyone and big into the youth.’ – Bill McIntyre
‘Legend! Two fine sons too.’ – Kevin Rooney
‘What a gent! Always smiling.’ – Patrick Kiely
‘I can tell you Mick is one of the best.’ – Peggy Nolan