Cahill, Harry (Harold Alexander) (1930–2009), international hockey player, was born on 9 June 1930 at 94 Fitzroy Avenue, Drumcondra, Dublin, one of two boys and one girl born to Henry Joshua Cahill, superintendent of stamping in Dublin Castle, and his wife Mary Maeve Cahill (née Golder); the family later lived at 13 Cremore Crescent, Glasnevin. Educated at Mountjoy School, Dublin, he played hockey for the junior and senior cup teams (losing the 1947 Leinster schools final to King's Hospital in a replay), and in 1947 took his leaving certificate there. A member of the Civil Service Athletic Club, he was Irish triple jump champion (1951/2) and came third in the Irish decathlon championship (June 1953). He was selected on the Irish team for the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, but did not travel owing to a lack of funds. A natural sportsman, who played soccer as a goalkeeper, Cahill was also a keen hockey player, and from 1951 played at left half-back on the second XI for Pembroke Wanderers Hockey Club. In October 1951, after the team's regular goalkeeper had emigrated, he filled in, drawing on his soccer experience. Showing an aptitude for the position, the next week he was promoted to the Pembroke first XI. In November 1951 he was selected to play in goal for Leinster, and he won his first Irish cap in February 1953.
In the summer of 1955 his work in the insurance industry required to him to move to Belfast (and in later years to various locales in England). He played for Belfast YMCA Hockey Club (winning the Irish senior cup with them in 1961) and for Ulster. Cahill was at his peak through the early 1960s, and was Ireland's outstanding performer when in 1968 the team clinched the home countries international championship for the first time in nineteen years. He won 72 caps for Ireland in a twenty-year career (1953–73). At the inaugural European Nations Cup in Brussels (1970), Cahill helped Ireland maintain a strong defensive record. He was on the Irish team that won the Santander Trophy (1972) and toured South Africa (1973). A skilled kicker, famed for his defensive clearances, he had prodigious reflexes that were augmented by a courageous athleticism during a period when minimal protective gear was worn. His impressive longevity stemmed from a high level of physical fitness, and he often chose to play outfield as an inside-right at club level. When playing for Coventry and North Warwickshire Hockey Club in the 1960s, he trained with Coventry City FC, then managed by Jimmy Hill, who offered Cahill professional terms as a footballer.
On the basis of a British passport, Cahill qualified to play hockey for Great Britain and accrued 35 caps, playing at three Olympic games. He was the outstanding goalkeeper at the 1960 Rome Olympics, when Great Britain reached the semi-final, and went on to appear at the 1964 (Mexico City) and 1968 (Tokyo) games; aged 38 during the latter, he was the oldest hockey player at the games. He also toured India and Ceylon with Great Britain (December 1963). Consistently regarded as the best goalkeeper in European hockey through the mid 1960s, he played for Warwickshire and then Staffordshire in English Counties competitions, winning the Midlands division of the English Counties championship with Staffordshire (1968). Helping North Warwickshire to win the English Midland League (1974), he moved to Buckinghamshire later that year and was their reserve goalkeeper when they won the 1980 English Counties championship. He finished his hockey career with Worthing Hockey Club, with whom he won the Sussex Cup (1981) and played in veterans competitions into his late 50s as club captain (1986–90). He was later a hockey umpire, ran three marathons in his mid 50s, and played golf and squash in his retirement.
Cahill married (14 July 1967) Ina Leinster at St George's Church, Temple Street, Dublin; they had two daughters. They met at Pembroke Wanderers; Ina played hockey for Leinster and Ireland. Harry's siblings shared his sporting interests. His brother Cecil was a soccer goalkeeper with Shelbourne (1958–9) and Bohemians (1961–3), and represented the Republic of Ireland in an amateur game against England (16 September 1962). His sister Irene Johnston was captain of the Irish women's hockey team and president of the Irish Ladies Hockey Union (1994–6); she and Harry shared the unique distinction of playing for victorious Irish teams, which beat Belgium, on the same day at the same venue (29 April 1973, Londonbridge Road, Dublin), Harry's last Irish appearance. In 2006 Harry Cahill was inducted into the Irish Hockey Hall of Fame. He died on 18 September 2009 while on holiday in France.