IT WAS ONE All-Ireland-winning manager saying goodbye to another.
Pat Gilroy — the man who ended the Blues’ decade-and-a-half wait for Sam in 2011 — paid tribute to his former friend and mentor, Kevin Heffernan this morning.
The man known as ‘Heffo’ to GAA supporters was laid at St Fintan’s Cemetary, Sutton after a funeral mass in Marino which was attended by many well-known figures from the world of Gaelic games.
“Kevin was a remarkable man who could identify with and get on with people of all ages,” Gilroy told those attending the service at St Vincent De Paul’s church.
“I was lucky in my life to have seen and known Kevin in many facets of his life. On a professional level he was a real expert in people and conflict resolution. He often helped me and many in St Vincent’s in work situations with the really difficult matters. His advice was always rooted in fairness and pragmatism. And Kevin would never take a penny from anyone for that kind of advice.
“As a friend he was unstintingly loyal, dedicated and committed. To my father, he helped him through the darkest of times. His midnight visits became legendary in many hospitals around the northside. He had great friends, simply because he was a great friend.”
Dublin star, Bernard Brogan with Paddy Cullen. Pic: INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan
Gilroy followed in his St Vincent’s clubmate’s footsteps when he helped the Dubs to All-Ireland glory in 2011, just as Heffernan had done three times as coach.
“As a person to get advice from, Kevin was the go-to man for family and friends,” Gilroy added. “Again he was very giving of his time. However, when you did go to seek the advice, you needed to be prepared. Because it was only going to come at you one way, and that was straight. It might not be what you always wanted to hear but it was what you needed to hear.
“As a contributor to the GAA, he created a very healthy legacy, such as how to carry success. He was very humble, he never sought the limelight or accolades. For him it was all about the team.”