Heffernan funeral held in Dublin
The funeral has taken place of Kevin 'Heffo' Heffernan whose management skills transformed the fortunes of Dublin GAA over several decades.
The service at the tightly-packed Church of St Vincent de Paul, in Mr Heffernan's Marino heartland, was led by Mgr John Fitzpatrick and co-celebrated by Fr Tom Noone and Fr Liam Murtagh
Mr Heffernan (83), who died on Friday, was a Dublin All-Ireland winning captain and later manager in the 1970s and 1980s. He spent 36 years with the ESB, retiring as personnel manager, and he also served as chairman of the Labour Court.
Mr Heffernan’s wife and daughter, Mary and Orla, were joined by his two grandchildren for the requiem mass.
President Michael D Higgins was represented by Cmdt Tony Whelan and Taoiseach Enda Kenny by Cmdt Mick Treacy.
Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton and Minister for Tranport Leo Varadkar were present, as was local TD Finian McGrath. Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and his predecessor Brian Cowen were also in attendance as was GAA president Liam O’Neill and Dublin Lord Mayor Naoise Ó Muirí.
The church was packed with GAA stars past and present. GAA football greats who attended included Jimmy Keaveney, Ciarán Duff, Eoin 'the Bomber' Liston, Paddy Cullen and GAA and soccer star Kevin Moran. Also in attendance was current Dublin manager Jim Gavin and former managers Paul 'Pillar' Caffrey and Pat Gilroy. Current players present included Bernard Brogan and Brian Cullen.
Also present were several stars from the famous 1970s team including Paddy Cullen, Seán Doherty, Robbie Kelleher, Pat O'Neill, Alan Larkin, Brian Mullins, Fran Ryder, Bobby Doyle, Jim Brogan and Anton O'Toole. Mickey Whelan who was a member of Dublin’s 1963 All-Ireland winning team was also there as was the former Offaly and UCD All-Ireland winning manager Eugene McGee.
In a moving homily, Mgr Fitzpatrick said: “All who knew Kevin must have found inspiration for themselves from his qualities of leadership and personal integrity. He was a driven person. He aimed high and he aimed well.
“I have no doubt that there is a celestial branch of St Vincents already established ready to do battle again against a team of their old earthly rival assembled by Páidí (Ó Sé).”
Sinéad Clarkin read the Pádraig Pearse poem Bean tSléibhe ag Caoineadh a Mic.
Former Dublin captain and player manager Tony Hanahoe and 2011 All-Ireland winning manager Pat Gilroy spoke in appreciation of their former mentor.
“To say a few words about Kevin almost seems an impossibility in itself,” Mr Hanahoe said. “To merely say that Kevin took over as manager of the Dublin team in 1973 is to do the man a huge injustice. Kevin was always involved in Dublin football and hurling."