Paddy Coad

Paddy Coad

Paddy Coad - the man who will always be remembered as the player who never left the confines of the League of Ireland to grace his magnificent skills at the highest level with those who crossed the Irish Sea to further their careers at English clubs.
5th Jun 2009

Waterford-born Coad won just eleven international caps, scored three goals but also found fame in the domestic game.  A wing-half in the old W formations of those days, he was a gifted striker of the ball as his record of 41 FAI Cup goals proved.

But much better was to follow with Spain the visitors to the same venue on March 2, 1947. A remarkable 42,102 fans somehow packed into Dalymount that afternoon to watch a five goal thriller played on a quagmire with enthusiastic supporters pouring onto the field on occasions.

West Brom's Davy Walsh opened the scoring after just 16 minutes with a header after Coad had created the opening.

And it looked plain-sailing for Ireland when Coad stretched the lead six minutes later when he put away the simplest of chances after Kevin O'Flanagan beat Nando and his effort was deflected into the Rovers' man path.  But Spain were back on level terms with double strikes either side of half-time from striker Zarra only for Walsh to hit the winner on 79 minutes after another high cross from Coad.

Against Portugal, again at Dalymount in May 1949, Coad scored the only goal of the game when firing home a 35th minute penalty after Walsh had been brought down in the box to record Ireland's first win in six games. It wasn't easy in those days with so many players operating for their clubs in England on a Saturday and then catching the ferry to Dublin or Dun Laoghaire the following day and turn out for their country within 24 hours.

Coad then had the distinction of scoring Ireland's winner in the 3-2 victory over Norway at the Ullevaal Stadium in Norway on May 30 1951. After Everton's Peter Farrell and Sheffield United's Alf Ringstead had cancelled out earlier Norwegian goals, Coad hit a sublime 82nd minute winner from 20 yards that hit the top corner of the net giving 'keeper Erik Kihle no chance.

Coad was to win his eleventh and final cap in a crashing 6-0 defeat by Spain  in front of 75,000 spectators at Madrid's Chamartin Stadium on June 1, 1952. But even that sad end could not diminish a career of excellence, achievement and entertainment to so many real football lovers.

Coad is today regarded, not only as the greatest Shamrock Rovers player of all time, but as the greatest League of Ireland player of all time. He was the mastermind behind the famous Shamrock Rovers team of the 1950s that became known as The Coad's Colts. That team is regarded by many as the greatest ever League of Ireland side.