02 Dec 2021

Peter McCarthy made a handsome contribution to Cooley Kickhams

But for emigrating to Canada in his early twenties, Peter McCarthy would have been presented with the Seamus Flood Cup on the day Louth won the Leinster Under-21 Championship for the first time.

But for emigrating to Canada in his early twenties, Peter McCarthy would have been presented with the Seamus Flood Cup on the day Louth won the Leinster Under-21 Championship for the first time.

And he’d have won another Louth Senior Championship to go with the four he collected with Cooley Kickhams on his return to this country.

An outstanding Kickhams clubman both on an off the field, Peter died suddenly last week at the age of 63.

The esteem with which he was held was evident from the huge turn-out for his Requiem Mass and burial in Grange Cemetery. Cooley Kickhams colleagues formed a guard of honour, and they and other members were joined by the big man’s neighbours, former work colleagues and representatives of football clubs throughout the county.

Fr Martin Kenny, so much a part of the Cooley Kickhams success story of the 1970s, was one of the co-celebrants.

Louth’s sights were set firmly on the 1970 Leinster under-21 title after beating Dublin in the opening round at Parnell Park.

Peter McCarthy led the team that day, lining out at midfield.

However, before the semi-final with Kildare took place he had left these shores. Terry Lennon took over the captaincy, and was in charge for the defeat of Kildare and the subsequent win over Offaly in a thrilling and high-scoring final played at Croke Park. Hopes of an All-Ireland win were dashed at the semi-final stage, Fermanagh winning a St Brigid’s Park tie by 1-8 to 1-5.

While still in Canada, McCarthy also missed out on Cooley’s momentous Joe Ward win the following year.

His brother, Harry, was captain, while another brother, Martin, and his brother-in-law, Gerry Rafferty, were also included in the team that beat St Mary’s at Dowdallshill, bringing the county’s best-known trophy to the peninsula for the first time.

But he was in place when the title was regained in 1973, playing in the full-back line along with Philip Clarke and Jim Thornton, and was included for the 1976-’78 three-in-a-row, lining out at No 2 for the first of them and forming a formidable midfield partnership with Peadar McParland for the other two.

When his playing days were over he took charge of under-age football at McEvoy Park, and also had a stint as senior team manager.

And he was also prominent in the committee room, overseeing as the completion of work on the impressive complex during his term as chairman.

He served as a county senior team selector during Frank Lynch’s time as manager in the late 1980s, and after that with Declan Smyth.

His second term included the noted 1991 championship win over Kildare at Drogheda, when Mick O’Dwyer brought his charges from the midlands confidently expecting a win.

It looked as if it would happen as the game drew to a close, but then Stefan White got a couple of goals to put Louth in front.

There was time to be killed after that, and Peter McCarthy knew how to do it.

He was loitering with intent behind the goals at the Lourdes end of the grounds,and after the ball went wide he took a flying kick at it, landing it in the soccer stadium!

Peter was a big man in every way.

He was especially big for Cooley Kickhams, much of the excellent work for the club being done in the background.

He’ll be missed.

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