WHILE all sponsorship is greatly appreciated in these difficult times, it’s probably more encouraging that Kilcummin GAA Club has a shirt sponsor which is growing and expanding its business and providing vital agricultural, environmental and water related services to a very wide and diverse customer base.

Southern Scientific Studios was founded by Michael and Kate Murphy in Tourmanagh in 1995 with a workforce of merely five people. Michael takes up the story of the company’s foundation. “We started off doing soil samples as the original idea to actually form the company has come from an Agricultural Consultant. From there we went into water and effluent testing and our facilities had outgrown us in Tourmanagh so we decided on our present location here in Dunrine in 1999 and we have been expanding continuously since. The start of the boom saw a rise in environmental related work particularly impact statements and water discharge licences. 2008 saw us picked up a contract from Teagasc to do countrywide soil samples and that brought our workforce up to 20. We’ve been doing testing work as well for the likes of Greencore and Pharmaceutical companies while our latest area of expertise is in Animal Health with BDD testing and that has brought us up to a workforce of about 30 people at this stage. I remember someone telling me that there would never be a need for a laboratory like what we’re providing at the moment, I’m just glad I never took that advice!”

As a former player with Gneeveguilla in his youth, the GAA has been something that has been very much part of Michael’s life and he certainly didn’t have to think choice when the club approached him about embroidering the company’s name and logo on its senior jersey. “The GAA is one of the best organisations in the world and I think we’re very lucky to have a facility like what we have in Kilcummin. It was a privilege to be asked to be involved in Kilcummin considering my roots and I would say I probably got more joy out of training a team than actually playing. I trained the U-16 team with Pat O’Connor and Paddy O’Sullivan about a decade or so ago and we all had great fun doing it. I went from there to training the U-21 and Senior teams which were enjoyable experiences as well.”

He is upbeat about the prospects of the club heading into the future. “It’s an important thing for the club to be in Division One of the County League right now and be among the top 12 in Kerry. I’d like to be more involved myself and contribute 10 times more but work as you can imagine has taken over. The club has probably been unlucky not to win a major senior competition but to still be up there as a senior club for 15 years is a fair achievement.” What benefits are there for a sponsor in support their local team? “It’s hard to gauge it instantly but I think any sponsorship in general is worthy. There probably is an onus on any local business to help out their local groups when it’s needed. Kerry would be a market for as we’re the only lab with the facilities we have in the county and it’s an important thing for us to know that when the team is travelling that our logo and name is being seen across the county at matches and that really is something invaluable.”

It’s reassuring indeed that in these tough times that the club can rely on a sponsor with such interest and enthusiasm for the club’s activities and willing to provide much needed support to our senior side.