Cormach Murrihy tragically passed away in New York over the weekend. The Irish man is being remembered for his immense contributions to the Irish and Irish American community stateside.

I didn't know the late Cormach Murrihy well, but I knew him very well in other ways.

Wherever you get major Irish activity, wherever you find a jewel in the Irish America landscape, there you will find a Cormach Murrihy.

Read More: Tragedy as Irish community leader Cormach Murrihy passes away

He may be from Meath or Antrim or even Clare or Sligo. He is quite often a she.  He/she might be Irish American of recent vintage, or go way back.

He/she may be seen every week at Gaelic Park in the Bronx, or the Chicago, San Francisco or Boston equivalent.  They are usually watching the game and ”having the craic” as the Irish say.

They are the first to help if help is needed, such as assisting a stranger new to town, usually a student looking for work.

Their love for Ireland and Irish America looms large in their life.  They give unselfishly of their time, effort and money, and they rarely complain.

Their reward, as it certainly was for Cormach, was the laughter of children who played trained, cavorted, laughed, made friends, learned discipline and their heritage on one of the Rockland GAA pitches which are such a credit to the Rockland Irish.

Cormach, through his successful company, United Structural Works, donated a 1,000-capacity stand, plus goalposts and safety netting, to the club to help it on its way.  He told the Hogan Stand GAA website in Ireland, “All I wanted to do was help the community out a little bit."

Cormach Murrihy with his wife and children

Cormach Murrihy with his wife and children

He did way more than that. He made the Rockland GAA center happen along with the hundreds of other volunteers who brought an Irish football mecca to life in a New York suburb.

Talking about that to the Hogan Stand in 2010, Cormach said, "It's an amazing thing to be a part of.  There are a lot of like-minded people, with all the camaraderie and togetherness that the GAA fosters in people.

“These are all busy people. Some of them are self-employed, others are employed by big companies, but they all put their time and their effort into doing what they did.

“Outside of the money aspect, the amount of time and effort that's needed to do anything like that is incredible. They got building department approval, they got the financing in place, they made trips to Croke Park and got a grant from the GAA, and received a grant from the Department of Foreign Affairs.”

Cormach was the Rockland GAA’s Man of the Year in 2010, a fair indication of the work he put in and the respect he enjoyed.

Cormach Murrihy Rest in Peace The Rockland Gaelic Athletic Association is at a great loss this week with the passing of...

Publiée par Rockland GAA sur Mardi 9 juillet 2019

He was a hugely successful businessman employing over 200 people in his company which he founded which makes structural steel fabrications and erectors that are used in the design of well-known building projects, including the new Tappan Zee Bridge, the Freedom Tower, Chelsea Piers, and the MetLife building.

Cormach was a leading figure in supporting the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR), and he made many large contributions to Friends of Sinn Fein.

Cormach Murrihy with Mary Lou McDonald and Gerry Adams

Cormach Murrihy with Mary Lou McDonald and Gerry Adams

Ciaran Staunton, chairman of ILIR, stated that Cormach had one catchphrase whenever he donated. He would say "keep it going.” As simple as that.

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald said, “Cormach was an active supporter of Friends of Sinn Fein and believed passionately in the reunification of Ireland.”

He would tell Staunton and McDonald the same message -- keep it going, like he always did. The headline in the Hogan Stand article said it all: “Solid As a Rock.”

That he was. May Cormach rest in peace.

Cormach Murrihy was a "rock" in the Irish community in New York