They played for Merthyr Town

The second of a series of portraits of players who graced the turf at Penydarren Park back in our distant Football League days, we follow our homage to Samuel “Sonny” Gibbons in Issue 41 by looking at the enigma that was Patrick (Paddy) Moore (1909-1951);

The interesting story of Paddy Moore came to light when I was trawling through the Football League records of Merthyr Town players, I was intrigued by his 10 international caps, but this time not for Wales, but with both Eire (9) and Northern Ireland (1). I was hoping that the player had been capped by his country whilst playing for Merthyr Town, further research revealed that his time at Penydarren Park was a nightmare and his international career must have seemed a distant dream but Paddy Moore was to go onto carve a niche in the history of Irish football.

Patrick Moore was born in Ballybough in 1909. His first noted club was Richmond Rovers (probably in Dublin), he soon joined Shamrock Rovers making his debut on 3rd May 1929 in a League of Ireland Shield match. He was soon spotted by our near neighbours Cardiff City for whom he signed on 28th August 1929, he failed to make an impact at Ninian Park only making one appearance and was subsequently transferred to Merthyr Town on 8th March 1930. He must have wondered what he had let himself for as he had signed for a desperate club that would eventually finish bottom of Division 3, conceding an astounding 135 goals, and of course losing our Football League status. Paddy seems to have served in Merthyr Town’s defence during his short stay at Penydarren Park which is surprising considering his success in later years at both Shamrock Rovers and Aberdeen, maybe if Merthyr had played Paddy in his obvious preferred forward role then we may have overhauled both Bristol Rovers and Gillingham and avoided the ignominy of our expulsion (at least for another 12 months). His first match was in front of a 4,000 crowd at Bournemouth on 22nd March where he was joined in making his debut by Smith, a half-back signed from Aberaman, and V. Lewis, a full-back signed from New Tredegar. In a hard fought match played into the teeth of a strong wind, the Merthyr team fought back from an early goal to lead 2-1 almost before half-time only for their play to go to pieces in the second half as they made the journey home with a 4-2 defeat. Paddy Moore continued his short career in South Wales with his home debut in a 3-2 defeat by Walsall. Merthyr’s desperate fight to climb the table was boosted by a remarkable 2-0 win at Queen’s Park Rangers witnessed by an incredulous 10,000 Londoners. Paddy’s final matches in Merthyr’s colours were to seal Merthyr’s fate and remain two of the most controversial for different reasons, first the visit of Fulham to Penydarren Park on 12th April, could the Town improve on the great result at QPR? Even for the usual conservative reporting style of the Merthyr Express it would seem that the Town played courageously only to lose 4-3, a match heavily influenced by two offside goals for the Cottagers. The next match was so awful for Merthyr that the Merthyr Express doesn’t seem to have been able to provide a match report for it. The match was a visit to Somerton Park on 17th April 1930. The result? Newport County 10 Merthyr Town 0. A team containing nine of the players who had performed so admirably at Bournemouth less than four weeks earlier had collapsed in Monmouthsire to signal the end of Merthyr Town’s stay in the Football League. It must have also been the final straw for Paddy Moore as he was soon returning across the Irish Sea to start the 1930/31 season with Shamrock Rovers. He made one more bid to make the Football league but after only four appearances for Tranmere Rovers, he was soon back at Milltown wearing the green & white hoops of Shamrock Rovers. Paddy Moore was now called up for international honours with Eire. In fact he marked his international debut by scoring as Spain were held to a 1-1 draw at Barcelona’s Montjuich Stadium in front of a 100,000 crowd on 26th April 1931. Senior international matches were a rarity in those days, this was only Ireland’s sixth game since the formation of the FA of Ireland six years previously. His elevated status ensured that at the end of that season Paddy Moore once again crossed the Irish Sea but this time for the Scottish League. His destination? Aberdeen. Paddy Moore’s career, stifled as a defender in South Wales, now took off as he served five seasons at Pittodrie, his legendary status in the North East of Scotland was confirmed by his club record achievement of scoring the most goals for Aberdeen in one game; six goals against Falkirk in 1932. The football fans of Merthyr must have been wondering whether this was the same player. Paddy Moore’s international career continued to match his success at Pittodrie, his third cap came in a remarkable 4-4 World Cup qualifying match against Belgium at Dalymount Park, Dublin on 25th February 1934. Moore was the hero of the 28,000 crowd when scoring all four Irish goals, he was the first player to score four goalsin the history of the World Cup, his record for Ireland was to stand for another 41 years until Don Givens matched him in a 4-0 win over Turkey. Paddy Moore had come a long way from that infamous defeat at Somerton Park. Paddy Moore’s final goal for Ireland was against Holland in a 5-2 defeat at the De Meer Stadium in Amsterdam when the no-nonsense Moore put the visitors ahead 2-1 when he shouldered ‘keeper Van Male and the ball into the net. In a glittering but tragically short career, he was capped only nine times but scored seven goals. Paddy Moore was undoubtedly the first super star to appear on the Irish scene, a cult figure, a bit of a rebel, a hard drinker and alas dead before he reached his 42nd birthday. Paddy Moore played for Merthyr Town. The Town’s fortunes may have been so different if his potential had been realized when he first arrived at the gates of Penydarren Park on the morning of 8th March 1930.

Dial M For Merthyr has so far failed to track down a photograph of Paddy Moore if anyone has any further information on the player then please get in touch to the usual editorial address on the inside cover of this issue.
Chairman Mao


Dr Obnoxious said…
The Ballad of Paddy Moore

‘Twas on the 25th of Feb. in nineteen thirty four,
A historic day for Ireland, and inspired for Paddy Moore.
It was Ireland’s World Cup debut on that chilly winter’s day,
And Dalymount was buzzing as the teams ran out to play.

Our opponents were the Belgians who were very hard to beat,
Most difficult to tackle when they played the ball to feet.
It was our introduction to international competition,
And many people feared a continental demolition.

But all the way from Aberdeen came Ireland’s Paddy Moore,
He’d been transferred from Rovers just a short few months before.
He’d only ever won two caps, and he had scored in each,
And maintaining that proud record should not be beyond his reach.

Now Paddy was a drinking man, he had a reputation
For soaking up a lot of pints in post-match celebration,
And the rumour went around, though perhaps it was unfair,
That Paddy had turned up to face the Belgians worse for wear.

Our baptism was dreadful in that ’34 World Cup,
For Capelle and Van der Eynde put the visitors two up,
Twenty eight thousand fans all grimaced in frustration,
And wondered if they’d come to witness an annihilation.

But on twenty seven minutes, the Free State pulled one back,
As Derry’s Jimmy Kelly orchestrated the attack.
He crossed the ball into the box, and in came Paddy Moore,
Who fired it home to register our debut World Cup score.

Half time came with Belgium’s men still one goal to the good,
The Irish hoped we’d score again, and many felt we would.
But down inside the changing rooms, the rumour mill insisted
That Paddy had a chaser and then came out fairly twisted.

Two minutes barely had elapsed when Belgium scored again,
‘Twas Francois van der Eynde who administered the pain,
And many of the faithful looked aghast and bowed their heads,
Acknowledging the skill and the proud talent of the Reds.

But then the tide was turned around in one eight minute spell,
As Ireland started passing and their game began to gel,
Midfielder Billy Kennedy, who played for James’s Gate,
Split the Belgian backs in two and Paddy aimed it straight.

Then Jimmy Kelly got the ball and put it on the spot,
And Paddy got his hat-trick with a strong and fearsome shot.
Van der Wijer in the Belgian goal looked downcast and forlorn,
But in the ground at Dalymount, a new star had been born.

But there was still a sting to come, befitting of a thriller-
The Belgians snatched another goal, which seemed to be the killer.
The euphoric celebrations quickly turned to agony,
As our continental cousins seemed to have the match four - three.

But Dolphin great, Joe Kendrick, did not take it lying down,
He crossed it quite immaculately onto Paddy’s crown.
A bullet of a header and the score became four - four,
Elucidating one more time that stadium’s famous roar.

And that was how it finished in a most pulsating game,
And everyone in Ireland seemed to know bould Paddy’s name.
Forty one years came and went, before that epic feat
Was equalled by Don Givens in a thrilling Turkish treat.

Paddy’s international career was sadly very short,
Seven goals in just nine games was all his talents brought.
He transferred back to the Rovers, when just two more years were through,
But the drinking took it’s toll, and he was dead by forty two.

So gather round and raise a glass to poor old Paddy Moore,
The pride and toast of Dalymount in nineteen thirty four.
His star shone very brilliantly in Ireland’s football scene,
Perhaps the first true superstar to wear the famous green.


© Peter Goulding 24th September 2003
Chairman Mao said…
Hopefully got some more info including a photo on the way from Dublin soon

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