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Kevin Heffernan RIP

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dublin GAA legend Kevin Heffernan died on Friday aged 83 following a long illness.

Heffernan will be remembered as one of the greatest football managers in the history of the GAA.

Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Liam Ó Néill has passed on the condolences of the GAA to the family.

"Kevin Heffernan had an incalculable impact not only on Gaelic Games in the capital but nationally helping as he did to forge one of the defining rivalries of the Association while at the same time assisting in the reinvigoration of the GAA scene in Dublin," the Uachtarán said.

Click here to see a few defining images from Kevin Heffernan's remarkable career.

“The ‘Dubs’ as we know them came into being during his era as he restored success to his native county and a pride in the team that was built on the back of the selection of Dublin born players.

“He was one of the most charismatic and popular figures the Association has ever produced and was at the same time an immensely modest man.

“I would count myself – like countless others – extremely fortunate to have met him on occasions down through the years.

“On behalf of the Association I extend my deepest sympathies to his wife Mary, daughter Orla, wider family and large circle of friends and admirers.”

John Costello, secretary of Dublin GAA, said: "Kevin Heffernan was ahead of his times as a player, a manager and an administrator. He revolutionised Gaelic Football in both how players and teams prepared and operated and also in terms of the philosophy and psychology of our national games.

"For his unparallelled devotion and contribution to Gaelic Football and Hurling the Association in Dublin will be forever indebted to him. So too is Irish society for lifting the awareness of Gaelic games, putting it on a revered pedestal, particularly at a juncture in time when participation in Gaelic games in the capital was waning." 

Heffernan played senior inter-county football for Dublin in the 1940s and ‘50s, winning an All-Ireland title as captain in 1958.

The St Vincent’s clubman took over as Dublin manager in late 1973 and gained iconic status in the capital when he famously guided the Dubs to the All-Ireland title in his first year in charge.

Heffernan is credited with transforming Dublin football in the 1970s, an era that was dominated by an intense rivalry with Kerry.

Despite winning three Leinster titles in a row and steering Dublin to another All-Ireland victory over Kerry in 1976, he decided to step down from the role at the end of that season.

Heffernan returned as manager in 1979 and led Dublin to his third and final All-Ireland victory in 1983, beating Galway in the final.

In 1984, the GAA’s centenary year, following his retirement from inter-county management, Heffernan was named on the GAA’s Football team of the century at corner forward. He would later be selected on the GAA Team of the Millennium.

He returned to management with the Irish International Rules team in 1986 leading his country to an International Rules Series victory over Australia.

As a player, he also won an All-Ireland Junior title with the Dublin in 1948, as well as National League medals in 1953, ’55 and ’58.

He also enjoyed a hugely successful career with his club St Vincent’s, winning 15 Dublin senior football championship medals and six in hurling.

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