As the Echo said, he was boring in when the Welsh referee Merrion Joseph said “O’Callaghan your boring”,”you are not so interesting yourself” became one of the best known stories in Irish rugby. He must have known Joseph well as he refereed him three times, (just to be clear Philo was not the referee). It was not clarified in which game this occurred. Could it have been against Scotland in 1969, a game in which Merrion Joseph struck Jim Telfer, the future Scotland and Lions coach and put him in hospital overnight. It was of course an accident, Joseph was lifting his arm up after a lineout and connected with Telfer in the eye and he had to leave the field with concussion.
Old Wesley and Leinster full back Bobby Macken played for Dolphin 1975-77 and returned to Dublin to play once again with Old Wesley. He lined out against Dolphin, Philo was standing on the wing as usual, when Macken came charging towards him, but to Philo’s surprise he tapped the ball into touch. Philo asked, “are you afraid of be Bobby”,” No, but I am afraid of running into your mouth”.
Grand Slam captain, Karl Mullen who was a gynecologist was at the game and when Philo later put out his shoulder he came over to give medical assistance. Dr Mullen said ” I can put it back in but it will be very painful” He did and it was.
According to the story Philo was screaming his head off with the pain. The doctor turned to him and said, You should be ashamed of yourself. I was with a 16 year old girl this morning in the Rotunda as she gave birth and there was not even a word of complaint from her.
Philo replied, ” I wonder what she bloody well would have said if you tried putting the f**kin’ thing back in.”
100 Rugby Greats–by John Scally
Philo was recalled for the Irish Tour to New Zealand in 1976. He looked a bit older than the rest of the Irish Squad. A Kiwi journalist asked him who he was. Philo answered: I’m Irelands secret weapon”
Odd Shaped balls; Mischief-makers, Miscreants and Mad Hatters of Rugby – John Scally
Gareth Edwards in his autobiography included a story about Philo, at an international but it was at an Easter Barbarians fixture.
Philo was on the bench when the call came for him to come on as a replacement. He jogged to the touchline, then suddenly stopped putting his hands in his pockets. He was checking his pockets thinking he had dropped his cigarettes and matches.
A Dolphin story.
A few weeks ago we lost a former team mate of Philo’s, Eoghan Moriarty. Eoghan played 2nd row behind Philo in the 70’s. Philo was lifting Morie in the lineout, when he said to him, “would you let me down Philo, my hands are frozen”