Monday, March 21, 2005

Paddy Irish

I went back home to on Saturday Cardiff to watch Wales beat Ireland and win the Grand Slam for the first time since my teens.

A ticket was impossible to come by, so I watched the game at home on the TV with my Dad and was rewarded with a fine story.

In the 1950's South Wales apparently, the archbishop banned Catholic priests from playing rugby out of concern for the chance that injuries incurred on Saturday afternoons might hinder them from carrying out their duties on Sundays.

This ruling was reportedly disregarded by a Father Clancy who turned out in the centre for Pontypool under the nom de guerre, "Paddy Irish".

Because of his need for anonymity, he couldn't appear in the team photos from that era which are always a player short, but he was eventually rumbled because he hit such a vein of form that the Irish selectors came to watch him because he was under consideration for a cap.

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