It was with deep regret that football fans learned of the death of former Cork Hibernians star Pat O’Callaghan, who passed away at Marymount University Hospice yesterday.
Pat nurtured his skills in the Cork Schoolboys League with minnows St Anne’s, Glasheen. Always looking for the cream, they swooped in 1958 to bring him to the western suburbs and with them he enjoyed a productive few seasons.
In 1960, he transferred to Wembley who won the League and Shield double and were unlucky to lose to Shelbourne in the FAI Minor Cup (1961) semi-final. Pat, the ultra reliable penalty king, had the misfortune to miss a late penalty when the sides were level at 2-2.
He turned down offers from cross-channel and signed instead for Cork Hibs, making a scoring debut alongside Jackie Mooney in their 3-2 win over Shels in January, 1962. Switching to an attacking wing-half role, Pat became a headline player and in a career spanning six seasons, was chosen as Hibs player of the year twice.
Despite his tender years, he played like an experienced pro in the 1963 FAI Cup final in which they were unluckily beaten 2-0 by Shels. Controversially, English ref Arthur Holland disallowed a Johnny Kingston goal for Hibs because Cork trainer George O’Sullivan had not fully exited the pitch after he had been on to treat an injury. Pat was among the goals two years later when Hibs made a significant breakthrough under Johnny Moloney and claimed their first national trophy, the Dublin City Cup, defeating Dundalk 3-2 in a thriller at Tolka Park before a 4,000 attendance. Tony Allen and Pat Goggin got the other goals.
Unfortunately, Pat missed the whole of the 1966-67 season through injury but showed he lost none of his enthusiasm when he was ever present the following season. Shortly after the start of the busy 1968-69 campaign, under Amby Fogarty, Pat, who made 196 appearances with Hibs, sustained an injury against Limerick which ended his League of Ireland career depriving him of featuring during the trophy-laden Dave Bacuzzi years.
May he rest in peace.
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