The 625th man to pull on the green jersey of Ireland, Paddy Berkery was capped from full back eleven times for his country between 1954 and 1958. Paddy was particularly well known for his bravery under the high ball and in the tackle, which belied his relatively light frame (he was just eleven and a half stone in his prime).
Paddy captained Lansdowne FC in the 1956-1957 season (a season in which he started for Ireland in each of the games in the Five Nations Championship), and the following season he enjoyed the crowning achievement of his five year international career. Ireland had endured close calls against major touring teams in the past but had never before emerged victorious, until 18 January 1958 when Australia came to town. Paddy (with his Lansdowne FC team mate, prop Gordon Wood) helped steer Ireland to a famous victory over the Wallabies that saw the home side score two tries in the closing stages of the game to turn a 3-6 deficit into a 9-6 victory.
Paddy’s last game for Ireland came in Lansdowne Road on a day when he landed a penalty to help secure a 12-6 win over the Scots, the same day that witnessed the great Jack Kyle’s final cap.
A native of Clonmel, Paddy also wore the red of Munster with distinction; while living in London he was flown home by the province for their matches, which was most unusual in the Ireland of the 1950’s. Indeed his performance for Munster against the All Blacks in January of 1954, during the latter’s five month tour of Britain, Ireland, France and North America, prompted high praise from the opposition. It was noted in the Irish Times (in an article that bore the headline “Berkery praised by All Blacks”) that he “was described by members of the party as the best full back they had played against”.
Remarkably, Paddy was the first ever man to captain Old Crescent RFC, before he moved to Lansdowne FC. His excellent form saw him twice receive honours caps, and he became president of Lansdowne FC twenty years after he had captained the club, for the 1976-1977 season. Paddy remains involved in the club as one of its five trustees.
Date of Birth 03/02/1929
International Debut versus Wales
International Debut Date 13/03/1954
Last Test versus Scotland
Last Test Date 01/03/1958
Test Penalties 1
Test Conversions 1
Total Test Points 5