Paddy McCarthy like many Irish men made a move for an emerging Latin America in the late 1890s. McCarthy touched down in Buenos Aires in 1900 with the intention of becoming a teacher in a local commerce school. Quickly, his love for boxing took control of his life and Paddy was involved in the first ever professional boxing match in Argentina against Italian boxer Abelardo Robassio which he won in the 4th Round.
His appointment to the sports municipal committee in Buenos Aires helped Paddy grow his network across the city as he set out to help the youth of the city inspire to become footballers. McCarthy was one of the main coaches at Lobos Athletic Club, the first football club in the rural area of Buenos Aires. (Lobos was founded by a group of Irish Argentines in 1892). Along with this he was also appointed by Club Atlético Gimnasia y Esgrima of Buenos Aires to coach their players in 1904. However the biggest move of his career was yet to come...
On the 3rd of April 1905 Esteban Baglietto, Alfredo Scarpatti, Santiago Sana, Juan Antonio Farenga and the Teodoro brothers met on a park bench in Plaza Solís, in La Boca to discuss the foundation of the club. Upon further research I discovered that the ‘Cashel Pioneer’ Paddy McCarthy was instrumental in setting up Boca Juniors. Paddy was a PE teacher in La Boca at the time while also being an appointed member of the sports municipal committee in Buenos Aires
The six founders of Italian and Greek heritage were his students and he became their mentor and the first Boca Juniors coach. He was also given the honour refereeing the first ever ‘Superclásico’ the renowned local derby in Buenos Aires between Boca and River Plate from the Nuñez neighbourhood. Paddy McCarthy was also grandly titled ‘president’ of Boca for a duration of seventeen years.
He died in August 1963, and while he was from Ireland to the people of La Boca they say he came to possess “the soul of a local” as ‘El Gráfico’ Argentina’s national sports magazine described him.
Boca had many jersey models before they adopted its definitive blue and gold design. Many Irish sports enthusiasts would like to believe that their illustrious blue jersey with the famous yellow sash is homage to the colours of McCarthy's home county of Tipperary. And that's how we will leave it.....
Home of Maradona, Tevez, Riquelme, Martín Palemo and the most successful club in South American history steeped in Irish heritage. 34 National titles, 6 Copa Libertadores titles, all owing to the man from Cashel who mentored six teenagers from La Boca into forming a world famous football club.
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Luke - KITLAUNCH
- Duffy, R., 2017. The Amazing Story Of Tipperary Man Who Helped Found Argentina's Most Famous Football Club. [online] TheJournal.ie. Available at: <https://www.thejournal.ie/boca-juniors-paddy-mccarthy-3339699-Apr2017/>
- Historia. n.d. Historia. [online] Available at: <https://www.bocajuniors.com.ar/el-club/historia/1905