Dundalk cup winner is named on Rovers team
Soccer/ 1952 FAI Cup winner, Paddy Gavin is picked on Irish/Scottish Doncaster Rovers team
Imagine being picked on an all-time best team alongside soccer legend Billy Bremner. That’s the claim to fame of former Dundalk player Paddy Gavin, who was included in an Irish/ Scottish Doncaster Rovers selection which appeared in the Doncaster Press recently.
Gavin, originally from The Mount, Sunnyside, Droghda is picked alongside the 54 times-capped Scottish captain, while another soccer great, Northern Ireland international Harry Gregg – one of the Busby babes – is included in goals.
Paddy was back in Drogheda for a short holiday last week with his wife Maureen and admitted to being chuffed to be included in such exalted company.
‘ I was pleasantly surprised,’ said the affable Paddy. ‘To see my name alongside the likes of Billy Bremner, Harry Gregg, Peter Doherty, Jim Dobbin and Kit Lawlor was a bit of an honour. They were great players in their day.
‘I met Billy Bremner on a couple of occasions when he became manager of Doncaster and he was a very down-to-earth and friendly man. For those who remember him playing, particularly with Leeds, he could be quite the opposite. He was a fiercely determined player.’
The newspaper selects two teams – a Doncaster Rovers English team and a Rovers Irish/Scottish team – and begs the question, which would be the better team?
During the past 50 years, Rovers had two outstanding managers from Ireland and Scotland, in Peter Doherty and Billy Bremner. The late great Leeds star was manager of the club for a period in the late Seventies and early Eighties after moving from Hull City on a free transfer. He had earlier spent 17 glorious years at Elland Road, mostly as captain under Don Revie.
Paddy Gavin went to Doncaster in 1953 and spent seven successful years with the South Yorkshire club, who were then plying their trade in Division Two of the English league.
Paddy shared digs with Harry Gregg, who was later to go on to greater things with Manchester United and Northern Ireland. Gregg signed for United for a then record fee for a keeper of £23,000. He survived the Munich air crash and went on to win 25 caps for Northern Ireland.
Paddy was 23 when he joined the Belle Vue club in 1953 from Dundalk, and in a seven-year spell he made 145 appearances and scored six goals.
Before taking up soccer seriously, Paddy was a handy gaelic player and lined out with Louth minors and seniors in the one year. He had a successful spell with Dundalk, winning a Leinster Senior Cup in 1950 and the FAI Cup the following year, beating Cork Athletic in the final after a replay.
Playing against the famous Tom Finney when representing the League of Ireland against the English League, he was spotted by Doncaster manager Peter Doherty and eventually signed.
He won a Republic of Ireland B cap against Romania in 1956 and also won a Sheffield County Cup medal when Doncaster beat Division 1 side Sheffield United in the final.
Paddy, who will celebrate his 72nd birthday next June, is retired from business but hasn’t lost his love for either Doncaster Rovers or his native Drogheda. He attends all Doncaster’s home matches and hopes they will win promotion from the Conference back to the English Third Division in the not too distant future.
He also returns to his native Boyneside frequently to visit his brothers Ned and Jimmy and sister Peggy and all his friends in the area.