James Fahy, one of the most endearing characters of the Old Paradians’ Amateur Football Club through the 1980s, is on his way back to Melbourne for the first time in more than a decade.
And the Dublin-born former Gaelic player – pictured here in the old Garvey Oval changerooms wearing the coveted Shags’ Rag jacket for best footballer afield - has called on old teammates and associated identities to join him at a barbecue reunion to be held when the OPs meet Melbourne High School Old Boys at the Garvey on Saturday, July 14.
Prior to boarding his Melbourne-bound plane from his native Ireland (the jet touches down June 30), James recorded a video message for the Association’s facebook page, in which he urges old mates to spare some time to relive past glories.
James was recruited to the Melbourne Football Club with the late Jim Stynes as part of the well-documented Irish experiment pursued by the then coach Ron Barassi, chairman of selectors Barry Richardson and general manager Dick Seddon, and funded by Rupert Murdoch.
Having been awarded club scholarships, Jim and James touched down in Melbourne on November 7, 1984. Both boys were billeted out to Catholic families – Jim to Parade’s Caddy clan; James to the Faheys.
Though Stynes’ elevation to League greatness as a 264-game Brownlow Medalist is the stuff of legend, James’ time with Melbourne was short-lived – and yet the Redlegs’ loss was truly the OPs gain through his connections with the Faheys, specifically Paul Fahey, the immensely-talented Old Paradians Premiership player and long-serving College teacher.
James was a head-over-the-ball, no nonsense competitor who gave the green men his all both on and off the field. Cruelly, suspension for an incident arising out of the 1986 second semi-final robbed him of his place in the Reserve Grade Premiership outfit, but off the field he made a grand impression, traditionally rounding out the club’s much-anticipated annual talent nights with his unique rendition of the unofficial Irish national anthem Molly Malone (“crying ‘cockles and mussels, alive, alive oh’”).
To view James Fahy's message, go to the Old Paradians' Association's facebook page.