‘It’s just complete shock and disbelief’ – Sligo and the wider GAA community mourn the loss of Red Óg Murphy


Sligo’s Gaelic football community and the wider GAA world have grappled with the news of the sudden and unexpected death of talented player Red Óg Murphy, who passed away on Friday.

It’s just total shock and disbelief,” said former Sligo County player Eamonn O’Hara when asked about the reactions on the ground. “I was totally stunned when I heard that yesterday morning.”

On Friday night, the county U20 side were due to train at Ballymote ahead of a championship date with Roscommon on April 13. Instead, as they were still absorbing the news, they decided to drop out of training and meet up to talk.

Murphy’s younger brother, Oisín, was a previous member of the panel.

O’Hara is a member of the U20 management team led by Dessie Sloyan.

“We have a bunch of guys who know Red pretty well and would have looked up to him,” O’Hara said. “Some of them were in the DCU with him. They were the first to come forward to say that unfortunately bad news was on the way.

“We had a meet up with our under 20s last night and we have four or five of the guys on the curry team who would know him quite well and one guy would know him particularly well and we sat together for an hour and ended up chatting about him.

“I think overall it was a real feeling of disbelief to see a young bloke who was a superstar at Sligo gone – he was going to be the future. We saw what he was able to do this year with DCU and was included in the Sigerson Team of the Year.”

Murphy was a driving force in a talented Sligo Minor team that reached the 2017 Connacht Final before narrowly losing to Derry in the All-Ireland Quarterfinals. He spent eight months with Australian Rules team North Melbourne in 2019 before returning home to continue his GAA career.

Paul Taylor was manager of Sligo when he returned to the county.

“He was a huge talent to be honest with such a great future,” he said.

“We were all looking forward to that future at Sligo and to see him play and see him progress. The county is in shock. He was a role model for so many young people, for so many his own age and younger again.

“He was a super talented underage. Also, the thing about Red Og was that he was a nice boy, a good boy.

“That made him so lovable, he had time for everyone, he had time to talk to everyone. He was a really nice young man. He comes from a very respectable family. “

Murphy retired from the county panel that year but had played for DCU, where he was pursuing an elementary education teaching qualification.

He was an exciting talent at 21 and his return to Ireland was a huge boost for his south Sligo hometown club Curry.

With his help, they won the intermediate championship in 2020 and reached the semi-finals of the senior championship last year, narrowly losing to Tourlestrane, eventual champions, after extra time.

His last Sligo appearance came in the heavy Championship loss to Mayo in June 2021 at Markievicz Park.

“It’s a great loss for everyone,” Taylor said, “but no more than for his family.” ‘It’s just complete shock and disbelief’ – Sligo and the wider GAA community mourn the loss of Red Óg Murphy

Fry Electronics Team

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