IT was a memorable return to Head in the Game Park for former Drogheda United player Paul Bayly, now involved in top level coaching in the United States.Home for a family wedding, he enjoyed a runout on a pitch he knows well from his time with the Drogs back in the mid 90s.
Excelling at both football and GAA, he enjoyed success in both codes and these days he is Executive Director at Bellevue United in Seattle and is Director of Coaching Education for Washington Soccer.
He has spent the last 22 years in the US, resident in Seattle since 2012. He is also involved in the North American Irish Coaches group, aimed at supporting and developing coaches in the States.
Paul was part of the great Paddy Carr GAA teams at the Ollies back in the mid 90s when the likes of Sean Goggins, Mark Mullen, Mark Grogan, Oisin Geraghty, John Heeney, Des McDonald, Barry Englishby, Ian Hackett and a certain Ian Harte wore the colours and Leinster titles came their way.
On the football pitch, he was part of Liam Callan’s Albion Rovers set up and enjoyed a great underage career, captain of the NEC team in 94 and was the top scorer with Albion’s first team in 1994/95 with 17 goals.
He joined United in 1995 and featured on a great reserve side for a few years, including Shane Boylan, Mickey Murphy, Steve Corry, Eugene Byrne, Noel Reid, John Flanagan, Dave McCormack, Ian Cashin, Darren Newman, Paul Meade, Alan O’Donoghue, Ken Shevlin and Ronan Quinn amongst others.
On the GAA field, many felt Paul, who played with St Fechin’s, could have made it as a county star, but at least he did become a World Cup champion in the sport!
In 2002, he featured on the North American Board selection that captured the Senior International Gaelic Football World Cup in Naomh Mearnog, alongside Donore’s Eugene Cudden.
Bayly scored 1-1 in that final against London. He was playing with the Ulster club in San Francisco at the time, with the likes of Oliver O’Reilly, Leo Cunningham, Larry Gorman and Morgan McGlew.
He was delighted to walk on the old pitch again which his uncle Matt works diligently on. It’s hoped that the club and Paul’s side in the States can form a bond in the years to come.