Stonemason Mark Feeley pictured at the launch of the Jimmy Murray Memorial project in Murray's Bar, Knockcroghery. Photo: Paul Molloy.

Work underway on memorial to honour a Roscommon legend

There was an excellent turnout at the recent launch of a community project to erect a stone statue in memory of Jimmy Murray, the Knockcroghery man who captained the Roscommon senior football team to successive All Ireland championships in 1943 and 1944.

For a man so synonymous with his county, it's fitting that his memorial will be carved out of Roscommon limestone, from Lecarrow, by a Roscommon stonemason, Mark Feeley.

The large block of stone that will be used for the memorial was donated for the project by Lecarrow Quarries, and was on display at the launch night held at Murray's Bar, Knockcroghery, on July 22.

Mark Feeley began working on the stone sculpture last week, and Thomas Murray, chairperson of the Jimmy Murray memorial committee, said it was likely to take "at least 12 months" to complete.

The aim is to have it in place at the Fair Green in Knockcroghery in time for the 80th anniversary of the 1943 All Ireland win in September of next year.

"Jimmy Murray was our local hero - he was an icon, really, not only in Knockcroghery but in the county and the province," said Thomas Murray.

"He was a great community man as well, and was to the fore of anything that was going on in the community. It's only fitting that we would create this as a tribute to him. He was born in the village, lived all his life in the village and died in the village.

"His 90 years were spent in Knockcroghery, and the piece of stone we're using is from the parish, and the sculptor is from the parish, so it's all tied together nicely."

Mary Dwyer, John Murray, Jimmy Murray, Susan Murray and Michael Murray at the launch of the Jimmy Murray Memorial project in Murray's Bar, Knockcroghery. Photo: Paul Molloy.

Among those who spoke at the launch were Roscommon GAA county board chairperson Brian Carroll, St Dominic's GAA club president Tommy Fallon, and local councillors Donal Kilduff and Laurence Fallon.

The launch night also marked the start of a fundraising effort to help pay for the memorial. St Dominic's Golf Society is organising a fundraising golf classic this month, and an iDonate page has also been created for online donations.

The Athlone Municipal District of Roscommon County Council is also planning to contribute €15,000 towards the memorial.

"That's a massive start for us, and we'd like to thank the six councillors in the district for their backing," said Thomas.

Jimmy, or Jamesie, Murray died in 2007, at the age of 89.

A Westmeath Independent article marking his passing stated: "Renowned far and wide as the father figure of gaelic games in Roscommon, the late Jimmy Murray was more than just a sporting figure of note; he was an emblem for a county, an ambassador for a region and an icon for a village.

"Knockcroghery was all about Jimmy Murray and Jimmy Murray was Knockcroghery."

More about the memorial project can be found on the 'Jimmy Murray Memorial' Facebook page, and online donations towards it can be made at the iDonate fundraising page here.