GAA

Like most Gaelic footballers from the Armagh, Art O’Hagan was introduced to the rudiments of the game at the Greenpark Christian Brothers School by Bro Lynch. Bro Lynch had an eye for spotting talent and had the gift of nurturing that talent. From a farming background, Art was born and reared at Maghery Kilcranny (Ballyhoy Road, Milford). There was no team in Madden at the time and so Art went along to play for Middletown: the first of three clubs which would be associated with Art throughout his football career. He was only fifteen at this time and still at school. His four brothers- Austin, Tommy, Jimmy and Johnny – all joined Madden and so Art followed suit.

In 1947 they won the Trodden Cup with Tommy James Molloy as captain. This team was made up of the O’Hagan’s, the Woods brothers, Joe Duffy, Paddy Hughes, Jack Belton, Johnny Green, Benignus Mc Cusker and Barney Cassidy. They won the Trodden Cup again when Art was captain. Art had never got to play with the famous Jimmy Whan, but when Mc Cullagh went to Madden to finish out his days, O’Hagan was in his prime. Art played a few more seasons with Madden before moving to his third club: Keady Dwyers. Art went on to win two Senior Championship medals with his new club in 1953 and 1956.

He first donned the Armagh Jersey in 1946 when he was chosen to play for the County Minor team along with Jack Bratton, Joe Cunningham and Sean Blaney. He was also a member of the 1948 County team which reached the Junior All-Ireland Final and five years later played in the All-Ireland Senior Final. But making it to the senior ranks wasn’t easy and despite his obvious ability O’Hagan was overlooked at senior level. He was, however, eventually asked to join in 1949. In the same year Jim Mc Cullagh was County Chairman and he had invited Art onto the team. He began his senior career playing at centre half forward and he played midfield to, but it was as a dazzling full-forward that he made his name.

In 1950, Armagh won their first Ulster Senior title: and the next day the Irish Times reported that Art O’Hagan had played a prominent role in the Counties victory. O’Hagan was also a star of many a Railway Cup team and played for Ulster along with Mick O ‘Hanlon, Jack Bratton, John Mc Knight, Joe Cunningham and Pat Campbell. He also had the honour of wearing the Ireland Jersey in 1955 against the Combined Universities again alongside Mick O’Hanlon – who just happened to be Arts brother –in-law.

Art was proud of how far Madden had come as a club since his playing days; as it’s a club that for obvious reasons will always remain close to his heart. It is the club where he started and has fond memories of what had been achieved in his playing days: he only wished he could go back to and do it all again