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Came Out Of Retirement & Became A Dubs Superstar
Jimmy Keaveney is a legend of Heffo’s Army of the 1970's for his deadly place kicking ability. He was one of the real sharpshooters of his era, and any discretions from the 45 inwards by opponents, was instanly punished by the St. Vincent’s player. However many experts of football will state, that Jimmy inspirational scores inspired all of his Dubs colleagues to reach trojan heights.
He first pulled on the sky blue senior jersey in 1964 and it took a comeback, and the persuasion of Kevin Heffernan, to finally win that elusive first Celtic Cross medal in 1974. Jimmy’s career laboured in a Dublin era from 1964 to 1972, and he had opted out after Kildare dumped a bewildered Dublin out of the 1972 Leinster senior football championship.
Little did Jimmy, or the rest of the gaelic football world realise, the impact Kevin Heffernan was about to make on his own life or on the lives of fans everywhere with his exploits. It was 1974 and Dublin had bridged a ten year provincial gap without a Leinster crown, and reigning All Ireland champions, Cork, came to Croke Park simply to fulfill a mandatory fixture. Nobody, least of all a Cork team rated as one of the greatest All Ireland champion teams for many decades, expected the fireworks display served up by Dublin.
Jimmy Keaveney was the onfield general in giving the rebel county, probably their most humbling football day out in their Croke Park history. Galway, runners up in the previous year, faced the Dubs in the 1974 final and lost again. Jimmy Keaveney had attained mission impossible, after announcing his maiden retirement in 1972. From his minor football inter county career in 1962 and ‘63, Jimmy Keaveney, the legend, had arrived in 1974, and was now famous throughout the land and stood alongside the cream of freetakers, when comparisons were analysed.
In 1976 and 1977 Dublin won back to back All Ireland titles, with Jimmy leading from the front and blazing a goal and points tally, that made him the legendary footballer he would later become in the history books. With three All Irelands, seven Leinsters, and an impressive ten Dublin county football medals, entwined with a 1976 All Ireland club title, Jimmy’s roll of honour was laden with great dividends for a player who had terminated his career prematurely in 1972.
His ten senior county football medals spanned 1964 to 1980, but his great passion for hurling also bestowed a further three Dublin senior county championship medals. The All Star selectors also came knocking on three glorious occasions 1974/77/78.
His comrades who fashioned the great Dubs of the 1970's era, include many illustrious names, but the father figure, identifiable to all gaels, was the burly No. 14, who against the odds, outshone Lazarous in folklore. Against Armagh in the 1977 All Ireland final, a massive 2 - 6 was put on the scoreboard by Jimmy, and many purists will recall his ability to curl over some really troublesome frees from acute distances with superb regularity.
The former Dublin star believes he owes his historic sporting status to Kevin Heffernan. Few would dislodge such a claim, but Heffo inspired many more famous players. Brian Mullins rates extremely high with Jimmy, as one of his greatest ever footballers, and he bemoans Brian’s motor accident which denied him precious time at a vital stage in his career.
Jimmy’s father was a Belfast born G.A.A. man who encouraged his son to take up gaelic games, but it was soccer that got his No.1 attention growing up around Marino, on Dublin’s northside. However the legends of Dublin football of the 50's era was ever present and Jimmy followed their trails and the rest is great football history.
Derry JF Doody