Tributes paid as deputy director retires after 44 years of service

LAST week saw the end of an era at St Francis College, Rochestown as Liam Ó Murchú retired after a distinguished 44 years of service to the school.

The milestone occasion was celebrated with a school lunch for all staff to recognize and thank Liam for his excellent service in many roles.

Liam Ó Murchú with Stephen Bermingham, Emer Murphy, Eoghan Buckley and Paul O’Reilly, members of the PE department. Liam was the first PE teacher at school.

Liam started at Rochestown College in 1978 as a teacher of Irish and physical education.

He was at the forefront of physical education teachers when he qualified at Thomond College Limerick, as it was the first time a course had been held to qualify teachers in the subject.

Teaching staff at St Francis College, Rochestown in 1978 when Liam Ó Murchú joined the school.  Behind: Father Eolan, Adrian Groeger, Liam Ó Murchú, Father Danjoe, Oliver Mills, Matt O'Dea, Father Donatus, Jim Morey, Father Roderick, Colin Cullen, Brother Edward, Joe Coughlan.  Front: Padraig Lane, Richard O'Neill, Fr Aengus, James Kelleher, Vice-Principal;  Father Peter, principal;  Margaret O'Callaghan, Father Gilbert, Jack Barrett and Tom O'Flaherty.
Teaching staff at St Francis College, Rochestown in 1978 when Liam Ó Murchú joined the school. Behind: Father Eolan, Adrian Groeger, Liam Ó Murchú, Father Danjoe, Oliver Mills, Matt O’Dea, Father Donatus, Jim Morey, Father Roderick, Colin Cullen, Brother Edward, Joe Coughlan. Front: Padraig Lane, Richard O’Neill, Fr Aengus, James Kelleher, Vice-Principal; Father Peter, principal; Margaret O’Callaghan, Father Gilbert, Jack Barrett and Tom O’Flaherty.

It was a banner year for Liam as he won an All Ireland Club Football Championship with Thomond College with teammates including Pat Spillane.

It was also the year he met his future wife Eileen and began teaching at St Francis College.

Liam is synonymous with the school and was a teacher and coach of Gaelic football for 39 years and is well known in GAA circles in Cork and Munster for his association with second tier GAA colleges.

Neasa Cotter media coordinator with Liam Ó Murchú.
Neasa Cotter media coordinator with Liam Ó Murchú.

He has been involved in all GAA classes as the school progressed from lower level competitions when the school had smaller enrollments until the present time with the school playing in the Harty and Corn Uí competitions Mhuiri, one of only two schools in Munster to compete. in the best mark in the two competitions of the same year. Liam’s time at Roco saw many developments. When he first joined the school, it served as a boarding school with day schools and had many Capuchin Fathers on the teaching staff.

Vice Principal Liam Ó Murchú with Principal Marie Ring and Deputy Principals Patrick Croke and David O'Donovan.  Photo: David Creedon
Vice Principal Liam Ó Murchú with Principal Marie Ring and Deputy Principals Patrick Croke and David O’Donovan. Photo: David Creedon

The school had lower enrollment in the 80s and 90s, but has gone from strength to strength in recent decades with an explosion in the school’s popularity.

The school currently has 800 boys and will benefit from a state-of-the-art multimillion-euro extension in the coming years.

Over the next few years, Liam rose to a leadership role as Deputy Principal and with his renowned work ethic and grá for the college, he has helped provide great leadership in recent times as schools across the country had to navigate the troubled waters of the Covid pandemic.

Former students and now teachers with Liam Ó Murchú at the retreat lunch: Father Silvester O'Flynn, Alan Cadogan, Rónán Lucey, Dave Dillon, Denis McDonnell, Eoin O'Flaherty, Mark Dolan and Eoghan Buckley.
Former students and now teachers with Liam Ó Murchú at the retreat lunch: Father Silvester O’Flynn, Alan Cadogan, Rónán Lucey, Dave Dillon, Denis McDonnell, Eoin O’Flaherty, Mark Dolan and Eoghan Buckley.

Liam’s contribution was recognized and celebrated on the day with speeches from current Principal, Marie Ring; vice-principals Pat Croke and Eamonn Hennessy and teacher Deirdre O’Connor also share stories and memories of Liam’s long and distinguished high school career.

Mr Hennessy said: ‘It was also remarkable to see how many former pupils and parents reached out to send messages of congratulations and thanks for all the work Liam has done for generations of pupils and parents. Rochestown teachers. Go raibh maith against Liam.

Comments are closed.