Dublin GAA legend Kevin Heffernan dies

Legendary Dublin GAA manager Kevin Heffernan

Dublin football legend Kevin Heffernan, who managed the Dubs to three All-Ireland SFC titles, has passed away at the age of 83.

Heffernan died following a lengthy illness, leaving the GAA world to mourn one of its greatest ever servants.

'Heffo' was a dual player of high regard growing up in Marino, making his mark as a Leinster Minor football winner with Dublin in 1946 and a provincial title followed with the hurlers the following year.

His stellar run with his beloved club St Vincent's will live long in the annals of Dublin GAA history.

His list of honours with Vincent's include 21 Dublin titles between 1949 and 1967 - 15 in football and six in the hurling Championship.

He had a memorable senior debut for the Dublin senior footballers for all the wrong reasons, suffering a broken jaw in a game which took place before his Leaving Cert exams.

The St Vincent's clubman progressed at senior inter-county level, winning All-Ireland junior and National League honours and also prized Leinster crown in 1955.

Three years later, he captained the Dubs to an All-Ireland and league double, and he enjoyed two more Leinster title wins in 1959 and 1962 before retiring.

A pacy forward with an envious sidestep and a great footballing brain, Heffernan was named at left corner forward in both the GAA Football Team of the Century in 1984 and the An Post/GAA Football Team of the Millennium. He was also a seven-time Railway Cup winner.

His legend grew during his managerial days in charge of the Dublin footballers which began in late 1973.

There were immediate results as the next season saw them secure National League honours and a long-awaited Sam Maguire Cup success, beating Galway in the final.

He become the only non-player to win the 1974 Texaco Footballer of the Year award. Dublin's enduring rivalry with Kerry soon picked up - they lost the 1975 All-Ireland final to the Kingdom but Heffo's men gained revenge the following year with a seven-point final win.

He stepped down in the aftermath of that 1976 All-Ireland success but was back in the managerial hot seat just two years later. He guided the Dubs to a sixth Leinster title in-a-row but again Kerry got the better of them in the All-Ireland decider.

Players came and went and with a new-look side, built mainly around midfield star Brian Mullins, 'Heffo's Army' were on the march again in 1983 when they prevailed in an ill-tempered All-Ireland final against Galway. Dublin finished the game with just 12 players, earning the team the nickname of 'the twelve apostles'.

Heffernan stepped away from inter-county management as an All-Ireland winner. In 1986, he managed Ireland to victory over Australia in the International Rules Series.

He retained his deep love and passion for Gaelic Games in the 1990s and the new century, coaching as much as he could at St. Vincent's particularly with the underage hurlers.

Granted the Freedom of Dublin City in 2005, Heffernan was appointed as a consultant to the Dublin minor football management team in 2007.

In his working life, he served as a personnel manager for the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) and later became Chairman of the Labour Court.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.


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