Belfast Telegraph

One-armed footballer murdered by loyalists is honoured by Belfast pub

By Brett Campbell

An old picture of a footballer dubbed the "one-armed wonder" will be hung in a bar close to where he was shot dead by loyalists more than 40 years ago.

Pedro Donald, the owner of the American Bar in Belfast's Sailortown, plans to hang the historic photograph alongside an inscription as a tribute to the legendary Jimmy Hasty.

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"I came across an old photo of him and decided it belongs in the bar," he said.

"It's a fascinating story - every aspect of it just leaves you speechless, it seems so far-fetched and yet it's completely true."

Jimmy, who was born in the historic north Belfast dockland community in 1936, lost his arm in a machinery accident when he was 14 - on his first day working at the seafront mill.

The teenager showed remarkable resilience and quickly found his balance back on the pitch playing for St Joseph's in the Down and Connor League.

He left the junior ranks for Islandmagee and then Newry Town, where he impressed as a serial goal scorer.

Hasty eventually signed for Dundalk FC in 1960 and played a pivotal role in leading the team to League of Ireland glory in 1963.

"I already knew his story, but I didn't realise he was a Sailortown boy until I took over the bar here a year ago," Mr Donald said. "I have spoken to customers about him and very few know his story, but they all agree it's another unique Sailortown tale, one that is worth remembering.

"People love a good story, especially in the pub."

Hasty, who was unable to obtain insurance to play in England, spent a season at Drogheda United before retiring in 1967.

He returned to Belfast with his wife and two sons and worked as a bookmaker until October 1974 when he was murdered by the Ulster Protestant Action Group.

He became the innocent victim of a sectarian tit-for-tat killing when, aged 40, he was gunned down outside his home.

Mr Donald hopes he can help preserve the unique story of the wonder boy from Sailortown.

"There's very few people who have been born and bred in Sailortown any more," he added.

"So much of the area has been clawed away and white-washed due to regeneration and Hasty's legacy was almost lost - I just want to help ensure he is remembered."

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