Cork Athletics’ Leading Lady

April 09, 2024

Noreen Murphy 1950 - 2024

Noreen Murphy was a founding member of Carraig na bhFear Athletic Club having taken up the position of secretary as part of the inaugural club committee back in 1980. A driving force ever since, Noreen fulfilled many roles within the club including Chairperson for many years and latterly Club President.

Noreen’s involvement in Athletics in Cork for 40 years culminated in a particularly proud moment in January 2004 when she was elected the first female Chairperson of Cork Athletics County Board.

Noreen brought her can-do attitude to all aspects of club activity and was central to the club hosting the National Juvenile Cross Country Championships in 1991, the Junior and Senior Inter-County Cross Country Championships in 1999 and the National Intermediate and Masters’ Championships in 2006.

For decades Noreen stood on the fields of Coláiste an Chroí Naofa in all types of weather coaching club athletes, fostering a passion for the sport and guiding young girls and boys to success. Noreen proudly oversaw many huge triumphs for the club including County, Provincial and National Cross-Country successes, US scholarships for her own daughter Michelle, Valerie Lynch and Patricia Dorgan, and in recent years a flurry of Track and Field achievements.

Some of Noreen’s last outings with the club included a visit to the Mardyke in Spring 2023, when she attended the inaugural Noreen Murphy Challenge Cup between Carraig na bhFear AC and Cork City AC, and last summer Noreen was on hand to witness a new generation of young athletes being introduced to the sport through the club’s Athletics Ireland Summer Camp.

From the messages (including a number from Olympians) that have poured in over the past few days it is clear what a hugely positive impact Noreen had on so many lives. Her undoubted contribution to the sport of athletics is widely accepted but notably it was for her kindness that most people remembered her.

Rob Heffernan wrote, “What an incredible woman and friend, you’ll be sadly missed Noreen.”

Sonia O’Sullivan wrote, “Very sorry to hear the news about this lovely lady that I know since back in juvenile athletics and cross country. May Noreen rest in peace and thinking of her family at this time.”

Marian Heffernan, “Very sad day for athletics. Deepest sympathies to Carraig na bhFear AC and the Murphy family. May Noreen rest in peace.”

A life lived to the fullest, Noreen’s significant legacy will continue to inspire us all.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam uasal.

Tadhg Crowley

Related News