The Leeside Legends series: Paddy Shortt had a long run of soccer success 

The Leeside Legends series: Paddy Shortt had a long run of soccer success 

Cork Celtic’s Wilf Wooller (right) pushes the ball Paddy Shortt (left), as Dundalk full-back, Patsy McKeown, moves in to tackle during the League tie at Turner’s Cross back in 1968. 

THE city of Cork has produced many fine soccer players over the last century but the story of the late Paddy Shortt whose footballing skills made him one of the finest players in the 70s and 80s is quite remarkable.

Paddy was born in 1949 and began his footballing career with the Middle Parish team Wembley.

Shortt helped them win the Evans Cup (U15 National) in the 1963-64 season.

The success followed him by being chosen as the Cork Schoolboy of the Year the following season.

A year later, he helped Wembley win the FAI Minor Cup and his natural talent was spotted in 1969 when he got a call up to the Irish amateur team.

Making his debut for that side, Paddy scored for Ireland at Dalymount Park in the 1-1 draw against England.

In 1979, Paddy joined Limerick and the following year helped the Shannonsiders win the FAI Senior Cup after a replay against Drogheda United at Dalymount Park.

It was international call-up time once again as Paddy gained an U23 cap against France in 1972 and in the same season he was on the Waterford team that won the League of Ireland championship.

It was back to Leeside for Shortt when he was an integral part of the Cork Celtic team that won the League of Ireland.

During the 80s, Paddy played a leading role in the fortunes of Cobh Ramblers and from 1980 to 1985 he won four consecutive Munster Senior League medals with the club.

That was coupled with an intermediate cup medal in the 1982-83 season a fantastic record by any standard.

In his career, Paddy played with and against the best players in this country and he recalled those that really stuck in his mind.

“I would have to say the best players I played with are Andy McEvoy of Limerick and Cork Celtic’s Ben Hannigan but Paddy also rated Bohemians Eamonn Gregg as a very tough opponent.

When Paddy was questioned about the standard of the league in the early noughties he made an interesting assessment.

“I think the standard was quite good but I could not compare the present players to when I played as the players are so different in many ways.”

Despite Paddy enjoying life to the full, tragedy struck in 1995 when he was diagnosed with a tumour in his right leg that resulted in amputation.

The unbelievable courage Paddy shown during to those dark days was testament to the man and even his closest friends were stunned at his reaction.

Paddy recalled those dark days.

“My whole world was turned upside down when I was given the bad news but I shook myself and my attitude was simple as I knew they were people far worse than me.”

With the help of his wife Catherine family and friends Paddy battled through this horrible time.

Notable names like the legendary George Best and his former teammate at Waterford Shay Brennan also a former Manchester United European Cup winner visited him in hospital.

During that period Paddy was assistant manager at College Corinthians and such was the respect they held him in they organised a dinner for him that saw 600 people in attendance.

At that time Roy Keane and Denis Irwin both made contributions that was very much appreciated by Paddy.

“First of all what Roy and Denis done for football over the years was incredible and I am in full admiration for them both.

“When I was ill, Roy donated a free weekend in Manchester plus match tickets for a draw and that really touched my heart.”

Married to Catherine Paddy had four children Graham, Padraig, Corneilus and Jonathon.

Sadly, in 2007, Paddy lost his battle with cancer as Cork lost a man who had graced the sport of soccer with style and panache over many years.

Cork was proud of Paddy and his football achievements are a credit to the great man.

FACTFILE: 

Paddy Shortt began his football career with Wembley who were based in the Middle Parish of Cork city.

Shortt won two League of Ireland championships with Waterford United and Cork Celtic.

He had his leg amputated in 1995 and had a visit in hospital from the legendary George Best.

Shortt scored the only goal when playing for the Ireland amateurs against England in 1969 at Dalymount Park.

He helped his club Wembley win the U15 Evans National Cup in 1963. 1964 was another memorable one for Paddy when he played a pivotal part in Wembley’s FAI Minor Cup.

After a long battle with cancer following the leg amputation Paddy lost his battle for life in September 2007.

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