Footballer rushes to wife in labour at half time – and substitute scores winner

York City star Paddy McLaughlin dashed from the pitch to the delivery room for the birth of his baby son – and he barely had time to change out of his football kit.

McLaughlin found out at half time during York's clash against Leamington Spa in March that his wife Fiona had gone into labour with their second child. Still wearing his full kit and shin pads, McLaughlin made a mad dash home, had a quick shower and set off for York Hospital to be with his dearly beloved.

Sure enough, like a forward arriving for the perfect cross, McLaughlin, 31, made it just in time to witness the birth of baby Fionn.

McLaughlin's wife Fiona, who was a week overdue, told York Press: "We were telling the baby that he had to avoid between three and five pm on match day. I don't know if it is an omen of things to come but the baby decided to completely ignore us!"

Fiona admitted she felt a few twinges on the morning of York's National League North match again Leamington, but dismissed it as nothing out of the ordinary. The couple's first child, Eoin, took five days to arrive after Fiona was induced, so she thought it wouldn't be a problem for McLaughlin to play for the Minstermen in the afternoon.

"I wasn't expecting a quick birth," she added. "Paddy left for the match about 12.30 – the match started at 3pm. Perhaps I was in denial but I thought: 'there is no way I am delivering a baby in the next five hours'."

Luckily, she managed to get a message to York boss John Askey, who relayed the news to McLaughlin. "Paddy was just about to go back out to play when we got a message to him," Fiona continued.

McLaughlin made it to the hospital in time for baby Fionn's birth, and, as luck would have it, the midfielder's replacement on the pitch, Kurt Willoughby, popped up to score the winning goal as York beat Leamington 1-0.

The Northern Irish star said: "It was lucky we had a home game – if it had been an away game there was no chance I would have made it back in time."

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