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One Of Down's Greatest Ever Forwards - Ballykinlar clubman played on 1960 Team
There are many great forwards in several Hall Of Fame records but the ,genius of Down's Paddy Doherty, as a really exceptional forward places him in a category that contains the elite of sharpshooters. He played in an era when television cameras in Ireland had yet to surface and when they did, only came out to catch glimpses of his magnitude in the early 1960's decade.
Paddy's ingrained scoring talent also surfaced in the soccer code and so exceptional were those skills, that English club, Lincoln City, persuaded the young Ballykinlar native to make a career in soccer with Lincoln. The lure of the Mourne Mountains region kept nagging Paddy back home and after just a two months exile, the county of Down were pleased to welcome home a gaelic football prodigy with immense potential.
Lincoln's loss would become Ballyclare Comrades FC (N. Ireland) gain and after netting a glorious 30 goals in a spectacular half season for the club, Paddy returned to his first sporting love of gaelic football, but not before the G.A.A. authorities imposed a 12 month ban, subsequently reduced to 6 months. His offence was playing a ‘foreign' game. It was the left peg of Paddy that excited Mourne fans and many neutrals, when he bore down on the opposing teams goalmouth and he had no trouble taking on the goalkeeper, or slipping the ball neatly over the bar.
Born in 1934, Paddy became a Down minor footballer in 1951/52, progressed to the junior team in 1953 and made his senior debut in 1954 v Tyrone in a Dr. McKenna Cup tie. Gaelic football in Down had a great tradition since the foundation of the association in 1884, but claiming an Ulster senior football championship title had eluded the Mournemen until 1959.
1960 and ‘61 set the gaelic football world alight as Paddy and Down blazed a trail of glory, playing a speedy brand of football that captivated fans all over Ireland. Further All Ireland glory beckoned for Paddy in 1968 aged 34. His captaincy of the Down team in 1961 was a major highlight but for a player who contributed so much to Down's scoreboard record and so consistently over a long and distinguished career, the legacy of Paddy Doherty will live on as long as gaelic football is played.
Composed by Derry JF Doody