[Mike Green wrote the following eulogy for Mr Domnall (Donal) Murphy, who has sadly passed away. Condolences to his wife, Pauline, and family can be sent to 120 Harberton Park, Belfast, BT9 6TU.]
Donal was the one person we could totally rely on. He inspired our 1970 era shells and exposed young crews to the Tideway; Thames Tradesmen scrimmages with Mr. Small bone and his very fast small boats; to the Oxford coach Jim Railton (sorry coach) who gave us a few tips on rowing quickly. He dared Paddy Tummon to get his sister to translate Rudern, after plying Paddy with Guinni in Galway and at other southern regattas. He even persuaded a, quite young, Tony Hart to take us to the pennant at Erne and a few other races as we went pot hunting at a time when Queen’s cupboard was bare! Years later I met a UCD heavyweight rower at Phily airport, and after one hour over the Atlantic, we talked about Donal and his UCD coach – and then I realized he was Iain’s best man and his wife’s coach! It seems the entire legal communities of Ulster were our coaching panel- Ken, Tony, John and Donal. It was a small world, with the law as a hobby!
Above all Donal taught us good technique, lifting Olympic weights with our part time weights coach Brian Mc Peak (an Ormeau Baker), practice time management, give our all, row hard after lengthy practice runs to Barnett’s Park and back … all before “two a day’s” on the Lagan. All in our new split shell Donoratico 4 and George Simms 8–what memories!
Donal gave us dreams to accomplish, goals to beat and victories to cherish. These memories carried over to encourage his entire crews to stay active in rowing to this day. He re-created a legacy that still drives excellence today in Ireland, England and now in the mid Atlantic area of the US. Many shells in Baltimore know of Donal Murphy and his legacy was passed on to rowers on the Potomac, Occoquan, Atlanta, the Charles and even against La Salle U (whom we smacked) on the Schuylkill, coached at the time by a certain Mr. S. Drea.
Knowing Donal, he’s likely cracking jokes with Jack Kelly, Jack Beresford and the many others he has touched, serving Glen Merangie to Victor as he pulls his Leander scarf off … behind the bar! I am sure he will visit with Harvey Jackson and explain one more time the Mercedes story on the way to Henley and the BU Champs!
Pauline, we loved Donal as your family did, he was like a father to us too!
May his soul rest in piece … he was an inspiration and gentle giant!
QUBBC – 1973