Cork great Ben O’Connor has revealed that Jimmy Barry-Murphy persuaded him to hold off on his retirement announcement until he was back from Cheltenham.
O’Connor’s retirement came as a shock to most, as the Cork stalwart called time on his inter-county hurling career in March 2012, having played in two league games in the preceding weeks.
Having played under Barry-Murphy at the start and end of his Cork career, O’Connor told his manager of his decision to retire before anyone else in the county set-up.
Barry-Murphy asked him to hold off on his retirement announcement for a few days however, as O’Connor revealed on Colm ‘Wooly’ Parkinson’s Smaller Fish GAA podcast that he didn’t want to be contacted for comment while he was at Cheltenham.
Ben O’Connor on Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s reaction to his retirement.
“I rang Jimmy the following morning and I said, ‘Jim, I think I’ve enough and I don’t think I’ll be training during the week’,” O’Connor said.
“He said, ‘Right, have a think about it. Don’t say nothing. I’m asking you, don’t mention it to anyone. I’ll have a word with you when I come home. Don’t say anything while I’m away.’ He was gone over to Cheltenham.
“He didn’t want it to come out that he was away while I was announcing I was retiring. So I waited for him to come home… I started and finished with Jimmy and I would have a good relationship with Jimmy.
“It was he who encouraged me to go for the U20s there and he was supposed to be involved with the minors a few years ago but it just didn’t turn out that he got it. He asked me to get involved with him that time.
“I have great time for Jimmy because he started me off and he finished me.”
“‘Don’t say anything to anyone while i’m away’….he was gone over to Cheltenham”
Ben O’Connor explains the great Jimmy Barry Murphy’s reaction to him retiring.
— Smaller Fish GAA (@SmallerFishGAA) September 13, 2022
U20s management role.
O’Connor will be back involved with Cork’s hurling set-up next year, having been announced as his county’s U20s manager on a two-year term.
The Cork great has management experience at club level with Charleville and Midleton and will head a high-profile backroom team, with Ger O’Regan, Ronan Curran, Terence McCarthy and Anthony Nash involved as selectors.