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McCarthy, Patrick (Paddy) (1871-1963)

from: http://www.irishargentine.org/
Irish-Argentine Historical Society

by edmundo murray
[email protected]

Boxer, soccer player, and pioneer athletics coach in Argentina. Paddy McCarthy was born on March 17, 1871 in Cashel, Co. Tipperary, where he studied with the Christian Brothers and obtained sound marks in swimming and other sports. He arrived in Buenos Aires in 1900 to teach English and athletic activities in the Escuela Superior de Comercio, directed by Clare-born James FitzSimons (1849-1944).

McCarthy coached professional and amateur boxers at the Boxing Club of Buenos Aires in Florida 525. The activity was still unlawful, but he successfully trained and hired several professionals, including Dave Shade, Montemún, Babe Herman, and Lou Palusso. Other trainers were the US American Donnally, Alfred Culpin of Belfast, Willie Williams, and Dublin-born McNamara. Amateur boxers were often recruited among sailors on call in Buenos Aires, who were invited to boxing festivals by Rev. Henry Brady, assistant chaplain in St John the Baptist Anglican church, and responsible of the "Missions to Seamen" in the port of Buenos Aires.

The first professional boxing match in Argentina was fought on October 9, 1903 by Paddy McCarthy and the Italian Abelardo Robassio. The "match-to-finish" (no preset number of rounds) was organized by "El Gladiador" magazine in their offices. Carlos Delcasse was the referee and the chief of police Francisco Beazley acted as time-keeper (though boxing was still banned). Paddy won the match by know-out in the fourth round, reaching the gate money a record $500. McCarthy abandoned boxing attending to family reasons, but he was appointed member of the sports municipal committee in Buenos Aires together with James FitzSimons' son Juan and others.

Paddy McCarthy began playing soccer in Argentina with several Irish Argentines in Lobos Athletic Club. When some players joined those of Lanús Athletic Club to form the team of the English High School, McCarthy left and joined Club Atlético Estudiantes, which was founded in 1898. He also played in Central Athletic Club, a small institution in the port of Buenos Aires. In 1904 McCarthy was hired by Club Atlético Gimnasia y Esgrima of Buenos Aires to train its players. He was also coach of Boca Juniors in 1904, and referee of the Argentine Association Football League during eighteen years.

Both soccer and boxing were athletic activities of the upper-classes of Buenos Aires and later other Argentine cities with significant immigration influx, and were exclusive for men and considered manly activities. Although in the beginning these activities were restricted to the English-speaking community, by the time McCarthy and other professional players and trainers were active in Argentina members of the local elite were actively involved in these sports. Paddy McCarthy not only taught to hundreds of Argentines the techniques and rules of these and other athletic activities, but also helped to popularize them among humbler immigrants in the first decades of the twentieth century through his administrative job in the Dirección de Deportes of Buenos Aires municipality.

He retired in 1943 and died on August 10, 1963 at the British Hospital of Buenos Aires, being buried in Chacarita cemetery.

- Raffo, Víctor. El origen británico del deporte argentino: Atletismo, cricket, fútbol, polo, remo y rugby durante las presidencias de Mitre, Sarmiento y Avellaneda. Buenos Aires, 2004.
- Peacan del Sar, Marcelo. Paddy McCarthy in "El Gráfico" Buenos Aires, March 28, June 6, and June 27, 1952.
- "La Mañana" newspaper, Buenos Aires, 1911.
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