eading over to Jimmy Hatton’s home on the road to Kilquade, GG’s head was full of facts and figures.
The Young Hatton Brothers
First medal for football was back in 1948, aged just 14, playing for CBS Greystones in the County Schoolboys League.
First big win was playing in the triumphant 1954 Kilcoole team (alongside his younger brother, Danny) that bagged the town its first and only Senior County championship.
Ready for another final
And then there was the refereeing years, for which, from 1962 to 1970, the man accumulated 8 All-Ireland Final medals, a bucketload of prestigious awards (including the Garden County GAA Hall Of Fame, above), and being the only living person to have ever refereed both the hurling and the football finals in the same year – one of which was attended by the rather fetching Grace Kelly.
Jimmy with All-Ireland ball boy J Rock
Oh, and then there was that time Jimmy refereed the 1971 All Ireland All Stars showdown in San Francisco. Or the day he was refused entry to Croke Park again and again because of some freshly-minted GAA officialdom – despite the fact that all the park staff knew Jimmy well, and the teams were waiting for him on the pitch.
So, you can see how GG’s head was spinning ever-so-slightly before we finally sat down with the bould Jimmy this afternoon, looking sprightly and positively giddy. Perhaps the man’s just excited about his 86th birthday, coming up on August 14th?
We’re at the house Jimmy grew up in, along with Danny, his only brother, and seven sisters. And just as Dan and Esther Hatton reared their children here and then sent them out to make their mark, so did Jimmy and Rose Hatton, giving the world Colm, Val, Noeleen and Shay.
With Val just off-camera today, we tried to remember all our questions about a lifelong love affair with football, whilst Jimmy tried to remember all those magical days…
You can go check out some of Jimmy’s newspaper clippings from games gone by here, a Wicklow People retrospective here, and a Wicklow GAA interview alongside Jimmy Gammell here.
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