Mehigan, Patrick Denis (‘Carbery’) (1884–1965), athlete, journalist, and broadcaster, was born 15 April 1884 at Ardfield, Co. Cork, son of Denis Mehigan, farmer, and Margaret (‘Peg’) Mehigan (née Donovan). He was educated at the local national school until the age of 15, when his teacher encouraged him to go forward for the civil service examinations.
In 1899 he joined the Department of Customs and Excise and moved to Rathmines, Dublin, where he became involved with the Gaelic League and the GAA and began to compete regularly in athletics and hurling. In 1902 he was transferred to London, where his prowess on the hurling pitch earned him a place on the London team that was hammered 3–13 to no score by Cork in the 1902 All-Ireland final (11 September 1904). He returned to Ireland the following year and settled in Cork, joining the famous Blackrock hurling team the same year. He was selected to play for Cork in the 1905 All-Ireland final replay at corner forward, but was again unfortunate as Cork were comprehensively outplayed by Kilkenny (30 June 1907). A talented all-round athlete, he also competed in a variety of athletic events and in 1908 was Irish champion in the hop, skip, and jump.
Although his job as a customs officer involved long hours and extensive travel, he began to contribute match reports and sports journalism to several newspapers, and from 1912 onwards he wrote a weekly column for the Cork Weekly Examiner under the pseudonym ‘Carbery’. Although mainly concerned with Gaelic games, he wrote about coursing, boxing, nature, and Irish history, as well as producing short stories and poetry. In 1922 his job took him back to Dublin, although he continued to write his weekly column for the Cork newspaper. In 1926 he was approached by P. S. O'Hegarty (qv) to provide commentary on GAA matches for 2RN, the new national radio station, and on 29 August 1926 his coverage of the All-Ireland hurling semi-final between Kilkenny and Galway was the first live field sports broadcast in Europe. He went on to commentate on over a hundred games, his vivid descriptions and in-depth knowledge of the games making him a household name in the country.
This fame brought a huge boost to his journalistic career and in 1932 he retired from the civil service to write full-time, concentrating on his increasingly popular weekly column and also contributing to the Irish Times (under the pseudonym ‘Pat O.’) on Gaelic games and coursing. He was also actively involved in the creation of An Camán, the short-lived journal of the GAA and Gaelic League, first produced in 1931. In 1939 he published a collection of his writings on sport, nature, and history under the title Carbery's Annual; the volume proved so successful that he continued to produce one each year until his death in 1965. He wrote several books, mainly on sporting subjects, but also published a collection of his fiction and reflections on nature and Irish history. These include Hurling: Ireland's national game (1940), Gaelic football (1941), Fifty years of Irish athletics (1943), and Mountain heath: Irish life, love, sport and nature (1944). In 1984 a selection of his work, edited by Sean Kilfeather, was published as Vintage Carbery. He died 4 December 1965.
He married (1918) Johanna Scully, a farmer's daughter from Clonakilty, Co. Cork. They lived at Dartmouth Square, Ranelagh, Dublin, and had six children.