Gaelic Football

Friday 25 July 2014

Where are they now?: Paddy McCormack (Former Gaelic footballer)

Published 23/01/2011|05:00

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The Iron Man from Rhode, Paddy McCormack is one of football's living legends. For over a decade he played in the full-back line for Offaly, winning five Leinster titles and two All-Ireland medals.

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From an early age, McCormack displayed natural football ability and at 16 he was called up to the county minor team. His career took off from there and he made the senior squad in 1957 while still a minor.

By that stage, Offaly had never won a provincial title and only contested three finals in the Association's history. But in 1960 that all changed. Dublin were the provincial favourites as they were vying for three Leinster titles in a row.

But, in a shock result, the men from Offaly stunned the defending champions in the semi-final with a three-goal victory. Offaly went on to beat Louth in the final and a breakthrough was finally made.

"Winning that first Leinster title was special; it's my greatest football memory. We had never done it in Offaly and I was privileged to be part of that team. The whole county went crazy celebrating; it was mad all over the county. The excitement and build-up to the All- Ireland is something I'll never forget."

Offaly played Down in the All-Ireland semi-final and in the closing stages of the game they were three points ahead and looked well on the way to reaching the final.

However, in the dying minutes James McCartan was awarded a controversial penalty which Paddy Doherty converted.

The match ended in a draw and Offaly lost the replay. They reached the final the following year but lost out to Down again and, as it turned out, McCormack had to wait 11 years to claim an elusive All-Ireland title.

"The hunger to bring the Sam Maguire back to Offaly kept me going, that and sheer determination. I really wanted it.

"It would be hard to have such a long career now. The game is different; you have to be an athlete. The old traditional style of play is gone.

"When I played for Offaly I was in the full-back line and my job was to mind the 21. If I went up the field there would be lads shouting at me to get back. That's the way we played."

McCormack was a publican for many years but his time now is dedicated to greyhounds. When he isn't going to support Offaly and Rhode, he will can be found at the dog track.

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