Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
John Cornelius McCarthy

Known as
Con McCarthy

10 February 1893

19 June 1975 (aged 82)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 22y 73d
Last game: 33y 185d

Height and weight
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 89 kg

Senior clubs
Collingwood; Footscray

Jumper numbers
Collingwood: 18, 17, 14, 16
Footscray: 1

Recruited from
Collingwood (1925)

Con McCarthy

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
V/AFL1915-1921, 1925-1926131390.3056%0

AFL: 2,157th player to appear, 1,629th most games played, 2,420th most goals kickedCollingwood: 213th player to appear, 180th most games played, 291st most goals kickedFootscray: 9th player to appear, 371st most games played, 292nd most goals kicked

A formidable follower renowned for his strength and endurance, 'Con' McCarthy enjoyed a highly illustrious football career at two top level clubs which lasted more than a decade. He began with Collingwood in 1915, and was a member of two VFL premiership teams during his seven-season, 101-game stint at the club. In the 1919 Challenge Final against Richmond, McCarthy, who was the Magpies' captain, played an inspirational game as support ruckman to Les Hughes to help his team avenge a 29-point defeat in the previous week's final and win by 25 points. In 1921, his final season with the Magpies, he captained the VFL's carnival side in Perth, but home state Western Australia proved to have the Vics' measure. All told, he donned the Big V jumper five times.

The second phase of 'Con' McCarthy's career was, if anything, even more impressive than the first. When VFA club Footscray offered him the immense sum for the time of £400 to take the reins as captain-coach in 1922 he took the bait without hesitation. In both 1923 and 1924 he steered the Tricolours to premiership success, and in the latter year he also masterminded a stunning 9.10 (64) to 4.12 (36) defeat of Essendon in a specially arranged challenge match for the championship of Victoria. McCarthy remained at the helm for two years after Footscray entered the VFL in 1925, adding a final 30 games to his tally. On a personal front, he had continued to perform superbly as a player, and in 1923 became the first ever winner of the Recorder Cup awarded to the fairest and most brilliant player in the VFA.

McCarthy's nickname 'Con' was an abbreviation of his second forename, Cornelius. On the face of it, his omission from both the Magpies' and the Bulldogs' official 'Teams of the Century' seems more than a trifle surprising, not to say unfortunate.

Author - John Devaney


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* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.