Pat Connolly was a lanky ruckman/key forward recruited in 1936 from the Burnside club in the United Church Football Association.
Pat kicked 66 goals in 37 games for the Norwood reserves team in the SA Football Association between 1936 and 1939. A slender six-footer, he was noted for his tenacity. If he missed a mark he would leap into the crushes after the ball and often emerge with it.
Playing at centre half-forward, Pat contributed strongly to the SAFA’s exciting 11-point win over Port Pirie at Adelaide Oval on 20 August 1938. Port Pirie grabbed the lead for the first time late in the game but the SAFA snatched it back when Norwood’s Sid Loader capped an amazing performance at full forward with his 14th goal. Pat kicked one goal and linked the midfield to Loader all day to set up a 20.25 to 19.10 victory.
Pat kicked two goals from centre half-forward in 1938 as Norwood beat Port Adelaide in the association grand final by three points, 16.11 to 15.14. A week later he was called up for his first league game – the preliminary final, also against Port Adelaide. It was a very different result, with a dominant Port winning 19.25 to 12.13 before a crowd of 26,047, but Pat was named in the best players for his work at centre half-forward.
In and out of the league team, he was the reserves’ leading goalkicker in 1939 with a tally of 27 goals. He put in some good league performances in the next two seasons but missed out on Norwood’s 1941 premiership.
World War II interrupted his career. His last game for Norwood was as a follower in the 1945 preliminary final. West Torrens recovered from a 25-point deficit halfway through the third quarter to prevail by four points, 14.13 to 14.9, and go on to beat Port in the grand final. Pat , at 29, retired and became a keen punter.
Born on 26 August 1916 to Simon Edward (Ted) Connolly and his wife Agnes, née Sewer, Pat had an older brother, Frank, and a younger sister, Edna. Pat’s mother died when he was six. He married Coral Emmerton in the Maylands Church of Christ in 1939 and they had one child. Patrick Connolly died on 21 May 2006.
P Robins, D Cox, G Adams April 2021