SOMEONE once wrote that ‘to be forgotten is to die twice’ and on Sunday the Donegal Athletics Board will honour one of the forgotten.
When the Athletics Team of the Millennium was selected in 2000 Paddy Haughey would have been an automatic selection if the selectors had known of his exploits.
Committee members hope to set the record straight on Sunday when he is honoured posthumously by the County Board.
He was born in Teelin in 1918 he joined the Army at the outset of World War 2 and was stationed in the Curragh where he joined Curragh Athletic Club.
Paddy was successful in Defence Force championships at 10,000m on the track and over the country. He made his first National breakthrough in 1944 when he won the NACA Junior Cross-Country Championship and led the Curragh team to victory, he finished fourth in the NACA Senior Cross-Country Championships later that year.
In 1945, Paddy again finished fourth in the national Senior Cross-country Championships and he led Kildare to the silver medals in the Inter-County championships and he was third in the National Senior 4 mile track championship.
In 1946 Paddy joined the Brownstown Athletic club in County Kildare, Brownstown is situated just outside the Curragh military camp and was affiliated to the AAU at that time and this opened up the possibility of International competition for him.
He finished second in the AAU Senior Cross-Country Championships, led Brownstown to the team title and was selected on the Irish Team for the International Cross-Championships which were held in Ayr in Scotland that year.
Paddy became the first Donegal athlete to be selected to represent Ireland He finished in eleventh place in the race and was the second Irish scorer. Paddy also won the 10 mile road championships and third in the 3 mile track championship that year.
In 1947 Paddy retired from the Army and went to work for Guinness in Dublin, he transferred to Donore Harriers Athletic Club where he continued to flourish finishing fourth in the National Senior Cross-Country Championships and leading Donore to the silver medals.
He finished in the silver medal in the IAAB championships. He was again selected for the International Cross-Country championships which took place in Paris where he finished in thirteenth position and was second Irish scorer. He was also second in the AAU senior three mile track championship.
In 1948 he finished third in the National Senior Cross-Country and led Donore to the silver medals again. Paddy was second in the National 3 mile track championship and finished thirty first in the International Cross-Country championships in Reading.
1949 saw Donore again finish in the silver medal position in the National Cross-Country Championships with Paddy a prominent scorer.
He earned selection for the International cross-country championships which were held in Baldoyle. Ireland were not expected to feature in the top six teams but they confounded the critics Paddy finished fourth Irish scorer and the team won the bronze medals.
The race was won by the great Alan Minoun of France Paddy retired from athletics after that race and moved back to Donegal when he retired from Guinness in 1983. He died in 1998 and two of his sons Al and Patrick still live in Killybegs.
Paddy was the first Donegal athlete to be selected to represent Ireland, he was the first Donegal person to be selected for a major Championship and he was the first Donegal person to win an International medal.
The International Cross-Country Championship began in 1903 and initially consisted of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, however other countries were quick to apply for membership and soon France, Spain, Portugal Belgium, Denmark, New Zealand, Holland, Tunisia, Morocco USA and Canada were taking part.
At its peak the number rose to eighteen countries in total with over 200 runners taking part and was the major Cross-Country event in the World.
The Championship lasted until 1972 when the last edition was held in Cambridge and it was replaced by the IAAF World Cross-Country Championship and the first Official World Cross-Country Championship was held in Waregem in Belgium in 1973.
Ireland hosted the event on nine occasions: Baldoyle 1905, Belvoir Park Belfast 1910, Belvoir Park Belfast 1920, Baldoyle 1925, Baldoyle 1931, Royal Ulster Showgrounds Belfast 1938, Baldoyle 1949, Leopardstown 1964,