Northern Ireland

Documentary on murdered one-armed Belfast soccer star Jimmy Hasty wins Sports Emmy

Sailortown-born Hasty scored more than 100 goals for Dundalk, then 50 years ago was shot dead by loyalists

Former Dundalk striker Jimmy Hasty in action
Former Dundalk striker Jimmy Hasty in action

Jimmy Hasty, the one-armed Belfast soccer star gunned down on the street by loyalists 50 years ago, is surely now looking down and smiling, his son said after a documentary on his life landed a prestigious Sports Emmy Award.

The makers of ‘One-Armed Wonder: The Extraordinary Story of Jimmy Hasty’ picked up the award for outstanding short documentary at The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) awards event in New York on Tuesday.

Sailortown-born Hasty, a star striker with Dundalk FC through the 1960s, was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in 1974, aged 38.

The whole family is over the moon after learning of the win, while wife Margaret, now 85, shed a tear when she heard, Jimmy’s son Paul said.

“We could not believe it. We thought it was good enough to be nominated but to win is unreal. We did not know what way it would end up coming across or what other ones were in for it.

“After 50 years, he is still getting recognised for his achievements. It is crazy. I am sure he is looking down at all of us, smiling.”

While collecting the award in New York, director Richard Milway said: “I’d like to thank the Hasty family, Jimmy’s sons Paul and Martin and his wife Margaret.

“It’s 50 years since Jimmy was killed and this was the first time that Margaret spoke about Jimmy’s death. She did so with amazing grace and courage and I’d like to dedicate this award to her.”

Jimmy Hasty enjoyed an extraordinary career with Dundalk FC
Jimmy Hasty enjoyed an extraordinary career with Dundalk FC

The documentary was commissioned by and broadcast also on RTÉ, though blocked in the north due to rights reasons.

It follows the story of Hasty as he overcomes the loss of his arm in an accident aged 14 on his first day of work at the Jennymount Mill in north Belfast.

He scored more than 100 goals for Dundalk and featured in the team that made history by becoming the first Irish outfit to win away from home in the European Cup, beating FC Zurich 2-1.

In October 1974, the father-of-two was walking to work along Brougham Street when he was shot dead by the Protestant Action Force, a cover name used by the UVF to carry out sectarian assassinations.

The family has launched a legal action against the Ministry of Defence, the PSNI and the secretary of state over suspected collusion between loyalists and state forces ahead of the murder.

“A catalogue of the lives lost in the Troubles lists him as Victim 1205,” the film was described. by its makers.

“But behind the violent death and anonymous number lies an incredible life...the life of Jimmy Hasty, a European footballer with a difference, and a man who redefined perceptions of how the game could be played.”