A snapshot in time – Paddy McGrory By Bartley Ramsay

As you may all be aware, myself and my good friend Joe Doherty, have published a new book, that features every player to have played a competitive game for Finn Harps.   The book was launched earlier this month and is now only available on Amazon.  UK & Northern Ireland buy off amazon.co.uk; Ireland & EU buy off amazon.de; and finally Worldwide amazon.com.

This snapshot in time was taken on 17 August 1969. It was taken during Harps first game in the League of Ireland, a shield game against Shamrock Rovers.   It is a picture I obtained from the Journal when publishing my first book “The Finn Harps Story” in 2008.  The photographer worked for the Derry Journal and may have been Larry Doherty or Cecil McGill.

The goal shows the late Paddy McGrory scoring the second goal for Harps.  McGrory, from Derry joined Harps in the summer of 1969 when they came into the League of Ireland.  He had previously played with Derry City in the Irish League and had a short spell at Port Vale in England. Paddy became a mainstay of the team that played through the early seventies.

He won the Dublin City Cup in 1972 and the FAI Cup in 1974.  He won a League runners up medal in 1972/3 season and played v Aberdeen and Bursapor in Europe for Harps.  Paddy got injured playing in a game in February 1975, and it took the injury a long time to heal and he left Finn Harps in September 1975.

I interviewed Paddy in February 2004 and he recalled “it was a coincidence that I started playing for Harps and I remember playing in a Summer Cup competition in Ballybofey one night and the ball went into the river.  I remember thinking at the time that this is some pitch the ball is away into the river.  Little did I know that I would spend the best days of my life up there.”

Paddy acknowledged the role Patsy McGowan and Fran Fields “You have to give Patsy credit, he took a team out of nothing and we were only in the League three years (72/73 season) and we had a chance of winning it only to finish runners up.” As for Fran “I had great time for Fran, without him there would have been no Finn Harps.  I recall a night I stayed in his house and June, his wife said to him, Fran what is that cheque you signed there for?  Fran replied oh that is to pay the players tomorrow, of course June asks will you get that back and Fran replies of course I will.  You know Fran never got it back.  It was boys like Tom Furlong, Michael Kelly and Fran who kept Finn Harps going.  They were fantastic to Finn Harps.”

Paddy finished with the following line “I count myself lucky that I played for Finn Harps, I enjoyed every moment of it.”  Sadly Paddy passed away in December 2008, after he was diagnosed and lived with motor neurone disease for a few years.

Paddy made 191 appearance for Harps scoring 4 goals in that time.