IT was certainly a game of two halves for York City player Paddy McLaughlin when his baby son was born.

After playing 45 minutes in a goal-less first half against Leamington at the Community Stadium at Monks Cross - the footballer spent the second half in the delivery suite at York Hospital with wife Fiona.

City manager John Askey had to pull Paddy aside during half time to tell him Fiona had gone into labour with their second child.

Still in his kit and shinpads, the midfielder dashed home to Holgate, had a two-minute shower, then drove Fiona to York Hospital where baby Fionn arrived shortly after.

Meanwhile, City forward Kurt Willoughby was subbed for Paddy and went on to score the winning goal in the team's 1-0 win on Saturday, March 26.

Fiona, who was a week overdue at the time of the birth, told The 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 admits that she felt a few twinges on the morning of the match, but didn't think anything of it because her first child, Eoin, took five days to arrive after she was induced.

York Press: Happy families - Paddy with Fiona and their sonsHappy families - Paddy with Fiona and their sons

She said: "My first childbirth was very complicated. I was induced and five days later had my first contraction and the baby was born 36 hours later."

So, she says, she didn't think twice about allowing Paddy to go off to play.

"I wasn't expecting a quick birth. 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'."

But they did have a plan - they knew they could get a message to the manager should Fiona go into labour. It was a plan they had to activate as Paddy and the team headed into the changing rooms at half time.

She said: "Paddy was just about to go back out to play when we got a message to him. His substitute went on to score the winning goal - so it was meant to be!"

York Press: Paddy in action for York CityPaddy in action for York City

It was only as they drove to York Hospital that they realised quite how close the former York City ground was to the maternity suite.

Fiona said: "We looked across from the car park and could see the footbridge that leads over to Bootham Crescent! Paddy said: 'If I'd been at Bootham, I could have just walked across to the hospital!'"

The couple are delighted that Paddy made it in time to see the safe arrival of Fionn, who weighed a healthy 8lb 10oz.

Fiona said: "He would have been really disappointed to miss the birth."

Paddy 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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