Paddy McCarthy in 1920.
(El Gráfico, 28 March 1952)
football game at the Buenos Aires Cricket Club on 20 June 1867, a little Argentine
boy asked his father who "those funny people" chasing a ball around a
field were. Ingleses, his father replied. Ingleses locos.
In 1893 in Lobos, a rural area densely populated by
Irish sheep-farmers and their families, a gaucho was hit by a
ball during a game at the Lobos Athletic Club, and he began shouting
estos ingleses están locos. Up to
the turn of the century football, boxing, and other sports were
typical of ingleses (i.e., English-speaking settlers) and their
friends. Thirty years later almost everybody in Argentina, regardless
the origin and the social class, was playing or learning to play the
sports of ingleses locos.
One of the
persons responsible for making football and boxing popular was
Paddy McCarthy. Paddy was born on 17 March 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, headed by Co. Clare-born James FitzSimons (1849-1944).
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 US American Donnally, Alfred
Culpin of Belfast, Willie Williams, and Dublin-born McNamara. Sparring
amateur boxers were 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.
9 October 1903. First professional
boxing match in Argentina. Paddy McCarthy beats Abelardo Robasio
by knockout at "El Gladiador" rooms, Buenos Aires.
(El Gráfico, 26 December 1952)
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 organized 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' son Juan and others.
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. Then McCarthy joined Club Atlético
Estudiantes 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 children at Boca Juniors, and was a referee of the Argentine
Association Football League during eighteen years.
Lobos Athletic Club
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 activities. Although in the beginning these activities were
limited 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.
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 children in the first decades
of the twentieth century through his job in the 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.
Paddy McCarthy retired in 1943 and died on
10 August 1963 at the British Hospital of Buenos Aires, being buried in Chacarita cemetery.