Dictionary of Irish Latin American Biography

Paddy McCarthy
(El Gráfico, 17 May 1946)

McCarthy, Patrick [Paddy] (1871-1963), footballer and boxer in Argentina, was born on 17 March 1871 in Cashel, Co. Tipperary. He studied with the Christian Brothers and obtained sound marks in swimming and other sports. McCarthy arrived in Buenos Aires in 1900 to teach English and athletics at the Commerce School, whose headmaster was Co. Clare-born James FitzSimons (1849-1944).

Paddy McCarthy coached professional and amateur boxers at the Boxing Club of Buenos Aires (Florida 525). The activity was still unlawful, but he managed to train and hire several professionals. Other trainers were the U.S. American Donnally, Alfred Culpin of Belfast, Willie Williams, and Dublin-born McNamara. Amateur sparring boxers were recruited among sailors on call in Buenos Aires, who were invited to boxing festivals by the 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 9 October 1903 by Paddy McCarthy and the Italian Abelardo Robassio. The "match-to-finish" - with no preset number of rounds - was organised by "El Gladiador" magazine in their rooms. 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 knockout 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's son Juan Fitzsimons (1883-1957) and others. Paddy McCarthy began teaching football techniques at Lobos Athletic Club. Lobos was the first football club in the rural area of Buenos Aires, and was founded on 3 July 1892 by a group of Irish Argentines, including Tomás McKeon, Tomás P. Moore, Tomás Garrahan, Edmundo and Patricio Kirk, Santiago F. MacKeon, Eduardo Burbridge, Eugenio Seery, Juan Geoghegan, José Garrahan, Lorenzo Owens, Felix Dolan, Hugo Lawlor, Eduardo Walsh, William Weir, José Joyce, Eduardo Slamon, and Eduardo Burbridge jun. Some players joined those of Lanús Athletic Club to form the team of the English High School. Ex-pupils of this school later formed the famous Alumni, winner of nine league championships from 1900 to 1911. After that McCarthy joined Club Atlético Estudiantes both as coach and player. He also played in Central Athletic Club, a small institution in the port of Buenos Aires. In 1904 he was hired by Club Atlético Gimnasia y Esgrima of Buenos Aires to train its players. He also taught football to immigrants' children at Boca Juniors, and was a referee of the Argentine Association Football League during eighteen years.

Football and boxing were some of the athletic activities of the upper-classes of Buenos Aires and other Argentine cities. They were restricted to men and perceived as manly pastimes. Although in the beginning they were limited to the English-speaking community, by the time Paddy McCarthy and other professional players and trainers were active in Argentina, members of the Argentine elite were actively involved. McCarthy not only taught to hundreds of Argentines the techniques and rules of these and other athletic entertainments, but also helped to popularize them among humbler children in the first decades of the twentieth century through his job in the sports committee (Dirección de Deportes) of Buenos Aires municipality. Since the late 1920s, football and other athletic activities became part of the regular curriculum in public primary and secondary schools in the city.

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

Edmundo Murray


- Mastropietro, Guillermo. Misceláneas Lobenses (Lobos, 2002).

- Peacan del Sar, Marcelo. Paddy McCarthy in "El Gráfico" Buenos Aires, March 28, June 6, and June 27, 1952.

- 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).

Copyright © Society for Irish Latin American Studies

Online published: 1 June 2004
Edited: 07 May 2009

Murray, Edmundo, 'McCarthy, Patrick
(1871-1963)' in "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" November-December 2005 (


The Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

 Copyright Information