THE FUNERAL OF Dublin football great Kevin Heffernan will take place on Tuesday. Heffernan, who died yesterday at the age of 83 following an illness, will be laid to rest in Sutton following a requiem mass in Marino, home of his beloved club St Vincent’s.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and GAA President Liam O’Neill were among those to lead the tributes to Heffernan last night, with Kenny fondly remembering a sporting icon who was “a giant in every way.”
All-Ireland winning captain of the Dublin footballers in 1958 and winner of 21 county championships in both codes with Vincent’s, Heffernan leaves behind a lasting legacy as manager of the great Dublin teams of the 1970s and 1980s. Against the backdrop of a storied rivalry with Kerry, he was credited with breathing new life into the capital’s love of football as “Heffo’s Army” claimed three All-Ireland titles.
Last night the St Vincent’s club paid its own moving tribute to “one of its most devoted, loyal and much-loved sons.”
“For every person you meet who had contact with Kevin, there is likely to be a different story to be told, and from each different story, there would be Kevin’s perspective, and then yours.
“Through his involvement with St Vincent’s teams at all grades over the years, Kevin left a footprint on the life paths of so many that he came into contact with. He took no prisoners and evoked fierce loyalty in those he looked after and influenced.
St. Vincent’s was an absolute constant in Kevin’s life from childhood right through to his eighties. No matter what else he was involved with, the club was always there, with its demands, its frustrations, its failures and its ecstasies, and through it all, there was always more to give; more to develop; more to expect, and more to instil in the hearts and minds of its members.
A series of articles in club newsletters some years ago focused on ‘What St Vincent’s means to me’ and featured the thoughts of a number of club players. One of Kevin’s friends asked him that question and he simply replied ‘Everything.’
“His ambition for the club was absolute,” they said.
“If you sought advice from Kevin, it was on the basis that you would take that advice; and if Kevin gave advice to you without your looking for it, you most definitely had to take it!”
It finished: “There is a gaping hole in the heart of St Vincent’s in Marino now and will be felt throughout the world where St Vincent’s men and women are living and working.
“The club will, of course, continue to do its utmost to spread the gospel of Gaelic games in this part of the world and to meet the challenges that we will face – Kevin would expect nothing less. As of now, we ask our members and those who loved and admired Kevin to pause for a moment to reflect and be thankful for an exceptional life.
“Kevin was of St Vincent’s; of Marino and of Dublin, and St Vincent’s, Marino and Dublin will, forever, be of Kevin.”