Tipperary community honours its former Olympian from 1928 Games

Plaque unveiled in Rosegreen

Tipperary community honours its former Olympian from 1928 Games

As the Olympic Games in Rio draw closer, a former Tipperary Olympian has been honoured in his home village.

Long jumper Paddy Anglim from Rosegreen competed for Ireland at the 1928 games in Amsterdam.

He didn't win a medal but was remembered in Rosegreen when a plaque was unveiled in his memory at Rosegreen Community Hall.

Histsorian and author Seamus King spoke of his exploits and achievements on the special occasion.

Anglim, born in 1904, was one of 38 competitors, 33 men and 5 women, who departed Westland Row Railway Station, Dublin for the start of a journey that would take them to Amsterdam for the Summer Olympics.

There were 11 athletes in the party and included were two Tipperary men - Anglim from Rosegreen, who was scheduled to compete in the ‘running broad jump’ and T. D. Phelan, whose father was a Clonmel man and who had qualified to take part in the hop, step and jump.

The party took the Mail Boat to London, having been seen off by President Cosgrave, and stayed there over night. They joined the Dutch Steamship, Orange Nassau, at Harwich the following day and sailed for Amsterdam. The boat was to be their accommodation and headquarters for the duration of the Olympics.

Paddy Anglim qualified for the Olympics by virtue of his performance in the Irish Athletic Championships at Croke Park in June 1928, when he won the long jump with a jump of 24’ - 41/2” or 7.12 metres, the best jump in the national championships since 1906. It was a spectacular performance as there wasn’t much known about the athlete at the national level before then.

Unfortunately his achievement in Amsterdam didn’t live up to expectations as his best jump was 6.81 metres or 22’ 4”, well below his 7.16 in the national championships. He came 21st out of 41 competitors and well behind the winning jump of 25’ 5” of the U.S. athlete, Hans.

Probably the greatest disappointment in Paddy Anglim’s life was his failure to qualify for the long jump at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. At the Irish Olympic trials the standard set was 23’ 10”. In his final jump Paddy landed out over the 24’ mark but fell back on one hand and the measuring tape had to be put on the hand mark, which was 23’ 8” from the board. He was convinced that had he got to Los Angeles his jump would have improved greatly and he was always disappointed that he never got the chance of joining Pat O’Callaghan and Bob Tisdall, who did so well at the games.

Paddy was born in Rosegreen on September 6, 1904, the only boy in a family of four children. His father was a farmer. He started in Rosegreen National School in January 1910 and was registered under the name of Pat Anglim. He later went to Rockwell College for some time and finished his secondary schooling in Clonmel High School.

Paddy married Kathleen Carroll in 1931 and the couple had seven children, six boys, Willie, P. J., Francis, Matt, Thomas and John, and Rita, who came in the middle of the six boys. Matt and Rita have departed this life.

He joined the fledgling Garda Siochana in the early 1920s at the suggestion of Geeral Eoin O'Duffy who had seen him perform at athletics meetings. Paddy’s athletic ability must have impressed the recruitment officers because when he applied to join he was a half inch short of the required height, 5’ 81/2 inches instead of 5’ 9”. So he got the name as the smallest member of the force!

His first station was in Oylgate, Co. Wexford from which he was transferred to Clonmel. Later he was moved to Roscrea and he finished up his life in Puckane in the north of the county.

Paddy was a member of Clonmel Athletic and Cycling Club and represented the club in many sports in the years before the 1928 Olympics.

He made his first appearance in the Irish Athletic Championships at Croke Park in June 1928 and made a winning long jump of 23’-41/2” or in metre measurements, 7.16. It was a sensational jump and shot him so much into the national headlines that he was chosen to represent Ireland the following month in the Summer Games.

Paddy came 3rd in the long jump the National Championships in 1929 and second the following year. Then came his glorious achievement of six championships in six years, 1931-1936 inclusive. During these years he never bettered the mark he set in the 1928 championship. His best recorded jump was made in Tipperary Town on August 24, 1934, when he reached 24’ 6”.

His versatility as an athlete was revealed during these years. As well as the long jump, Paddy won four National championships in the Pole Vault in 1931, 1932 1933, and 1934, and he came second in 1935. Also in the 1932 National Championships he came third in the javelin.

Michael O’Dwyer, who has written extensively on the exploits of Tipperarymen in sport, has this to say about Paddy Anglim’s achievements: ‘As well as his 24 ‘ 6” in the long jump, he could throw the javelin over 150 feet, he was a handy sprinter, a 37 feet shot putter and 5’ 7” high jumper, once recorded 15.8 seconds in the 120 yards hurdles, and on August 23, 1931 at the Templemore Garda Sports, he jumped 11’7’’ in the pole vault, beating his own Irish record.’ An impressive record indeed.

Paddy died at the young age of 49 years on March 3, 1954. Columnist Galteemore in 'The Nationalist' on the occasion of his death, referred to him as ‘a splendid all round athlete’ as indeed he was. The village of Rosegreen and the wider parish of Cashel & Rosegreen have to be proud of him, their most distinguished native son, whose achievements have never been equalled let alone surpassed.