Father Michael McMahon

'Red Ruffansore'

Sunday Times article by Peter Sweeney May 28th 2006

Photos 2008

Blessed with celestial spring, the wisdom of Solomon, the judgement of Moses, and the best right cross since Jack Dempsey, Fr Mac has long earned the title 'living legend' in Broome football circles.

His standing in the game is such that the Shire Council has named the trophy for an inter-town game after him. Whilst discussion about the name took sometime, discussion about the design did not. The avenging Angel of the Lord (Captain Catholic himself), smiting the forces of Satan, (a puny, blood sucking leech of a half forward) will be cast in Bronze and executed in the traditional Footscray style, quickly, quietly and with lots of blood.

Involvement in Football has not been easy for Fr Mac, the main problem being the obvious conflict of interest on Sunday. To his credit he merged the two successfully, although there have been circumstances where the two have become entangled. One such instance occurred when the letters from St Paul to the Corinthians (read on the eve of the a Grand Final) urged them to play the bastards elbow to elbow and use the Jerusalem flank. Another notable incident occurred when a visiting priest, delivering the sermon, posed the question: "What would you do if God came to Broome tomorrow?" "Shift Fr Mac to centre half forward, came the quick reply from the back of the church.

His congregation supported his football endeavours with fervent zeal, indeed the church choir would assemble at the oval and sing songs of support. Their favourite song was their version of the English song, "You'll never walk alone". Upon taking up station on Fr Mac, his unfortunate opponent would turn pale when their choir launched into their famous opener, "You'll never walk alone". To avoid overuse this was often replaced with Psalm 23, a little number that didn't bring much joy to the opposition either.

A quite perusal of the parish Baptismal records indicates that Fr Mac's influence extended into this sphere also. Michael YBAR Ambi and Stephen ARFS Pigram are two of the many intriguing entries. Apparently the utterances 'you'll be a ruckman' and a rover for sure' were faithfully recorded.

Forty two boys bearing the second names Simon Beasley indicates Mac's devotion to his beloved Footscray.

A long period of coaching and administration followed Mac's retirement as a player, incidentally, any player up before the tribunal then was dealt with in a brisk, no nonsense manner, Mac dispensing justice with the practised air of one who has been hearing confessions all his life.

Whilst 1985 sees Mac's footballing activities limited to watching the odd Broome game, and following Footscray's West Aussie -led (bless them one and all) return from the wilderness, his name will remain hallowed in Broome football circles as long as the game he loves.

Finally we leave the visitor to Broome with a hint. In an effort to enliven his services, Mac often interrupts standard procedures with jokes or little quiz's. One of his favourite little questions is 'who is the best Football team in Australia?'

As the photo below indicates the answer 'Essendon' is wrong, and the punishment severe.

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