Scrapbook dedicated to Dr. Pat sheds light on Olympic age of long ago

Eamonn Wynne

Eamonn Wynne

Coincidentally in this Olympic year, with the Games taking place in nearby London, Clonmel Town Football Club has received a gift of a scrapbook on the athletics career of Dr. Pat O’Callaghan, the Clonmel-based doctor from Kanturk who won gold at the Olympic Games in Amsterdam in 1928 and Los Angeles in 1932.

The scrapbook was donated to the club – whose home is the Dr. Pat O’Callaghan Complex, on the Cashel Road – by Richard Goulding, a Dubliner who has lived in Weybridge in Surrey for the past 20 years.

It was given to him by his father, the late Ernest Goulding, and Richard believes it might even have been inherited by his father from his own father’s house in the 1950s.

Ernest Goulding was the managing director and chairman of the Irish Pensions Trust, and was also chairman of the National Rehabilitation Hospital.

He was born in Grand Canal Street in Dublin and left there in 1949 when he married and moved to the Falls Road in Shankill, Co. Dublin, where he lived from 1970 until his death in 2003.

The scrapbook contains several original photos and newspaper cuttings about the late Dr. O’Callaghan, who lived at Roseville, Western Road, Clonmel, and who died in December 1991.

Clonmel Town Football Club are to contact the County Museum in Clonmel to discuss how it can be best preserved and displayed.

Following his success at the 1932 Games in Los Angeles, when he won the gold medal with his final throw, the following article from the Toronto Telegraph newspaper described the unfolding drama - “The gigantic Celt, thewed like an Auroch bull, with a chest as thick as a hillside, finished his final whirl and let nature take its course.

It was ‘Erin Go Brach’ as the 16 pounds of steel was on its way. And when it churned into the green turf a full five feet beyond the best mark of the afternoon, the answering echo was the cannonading thunder from the stands – stands that appreciated what it took to go out and win in the face of almost certain defeat.

It took a stout heart as well as a giant body to meet this test as he stood upon the edge of a precipice with the shadow of (his opponent) Parhola, the Finn, standing across his right of way”.

The same newspaper also described him as “the nearest physical approach to Hercules, the original strong man of Greece”.

Another newspaper article from the Los Angeles Games stated “Dr. O’Callaghan not only weighs 240 lbs but every ounce of this is iron. Carrying all this displacement he has high-jumped above 6 feet, 4 inches and that gives you some idea as to how active he is”.

Another newspaper article reports on his world record achieved in Fermoy in 1936 when he threw the 16 lb. hammer over 198 feet, which broke the previous record set by Limerick-born Paddy Ryan by more than 9 feet.