Despite finishing his Louth career with twenty-eight consecutive appearances at full back - where his tussles with the great Sean O’Neill were legendary – Jimmy Mulroy was a forward of no ordinary ability.
He scored a goal on his debut against Laois in a National League match at Ardee in November of 1959, and in an inter-county career extending thirteen years, played in the forward-line on 31 occasions, amassing 6 goals and 66 points. He made 103 appearances for the county in championship, league and O’Byrne Cup matches.
He was the county’s top scorer in the 1962/’63 season, and was second-highest scorer in each of the following three seasons. In that ‘62/63 season, he scored 1-6 in a Leinster Championship game against Wicklow, and 0-6 from midfield against Offaly in a NFL match.
In February, 1972, he became the third after Stephen White and Frank Lynch to make more than 100 appearances for the county, retiring in May of that year with 99 starts and 4 sub appearances, after the Leinster Championship defeat to Longford.
Appointed Louth manager in January, 1973, his team was undefeated in their first seven matches, three of them in the league.
However, the team he took over, had lost three of the four it had played in the first half of the points competition and didn’t come into the promotion reckoning.
For over 70 years Louth teams had averaged 10-12 pts. per game, but under Mulroy’s management this increased to 16.6 in 1974 and 16.9 in 1975, an average which has only been bettered twice in the near 40 years since.
His team’s record total of 0-22 in a Leinster Championship match against Wicklow, in 1975, has only been equaled once since, while the 6-17 Louth registered in a 1973 NFL match against Monaghan in Carrickmacross has only been bettered once in over 960 matches - and that was back in 1901.
In his two spells as Louth manager, he won 30 of his 52 matches for a winning percentage of 57.69, putting him second to Mickey Whelan (58.70) and just ahead of third-placed Paddy Clarke (55.60).
Jimmy’s career as a Newtown Blues footballer was even more success-laden, and it also highlighted his wonderful versatility. His nine senior championship medals were won as a full-back (3), centre half-back (2), midfield (2), right winger and full-forward, one each.
Wearing the red jersey, he played at full back twenty-eight times, half-back 16, midfield 24, half-forward 12, and was in one or the other of the full-forward positions on 19 occasions. Like many others, his undoubted talent as an inter-county footballer didn’t get the reward it deserved.
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