One of Armagh’s oldest supporters recalled past glories with pupils at St. Patrick’s Primary School, Derrymacash this week.
At the age of 92, Malachy Tighe can still recollect memories of the 40s as clear as he can recall action from a game today.
P5 pupils, who are looking forward to Sunday’s Ulster Championship opener between Armagh and Cavan were left in no doubt which team would be victorious.
“Armagh have a good record in the Championship and it is my belief they will win on Sunday,” he said.
“My memories of Cavan and Armagh games go back a long time. I saw all of the Cavan greats in action, players like ‘The Gunner’ Brady, Tony Tighe,Victor Sherlock and Mick Higgins were all household names when I was growing up, times have moved on since then, in those days we thought nothing of jumping on the bike to cycle to the Athletic Grounds to watch Armagh.”
Malachy didn’t miss the opportunity to suggest that in his opinion the game ‘has gone soft.’
“I wouldn’t be a supporter of all this black card stuff, in my day the game was far more physical, there was no diving or play acting - if you were hurt - you were hurt, men stood up and took a dig and played on. Now if you touch a man he goes down.”
The former Wolfe Tones player and chairman while recognising that there were players from his generation who would be better known than others, said that the name of Leo McAlinden should be used in the same context as former County greats such as Bill McCorry, Sean Quinn and John McCarron.
“Leo would not have been as well known as the other boys, I wouldn’t say he was the best player I saw but I can’t think of anyone better.”
Malachy told the pupils to ‘study hard and enjoy your sport’. “At 92 I have seen a lot of good teams and players,but you always remember the good friends you meet in GAA circles more than the games.”