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Heffo's army says farewell to its leader

HEFFO'S army was bigger than ever today as Dublin bid a final farewell to its football emperor.

The legendary GAA manager and former county star brought a large part of the capital to a standstill one more time today.

Hundreds turned out as he was laid to rest at St Fintan's Cemetery in Sutton following Requiem Mass at St Vincent de Paul Church in Marino.

Tributes were paid to Kevin Heffernan at the overflowing church in Griffith Avenue today as current and former stars joined to honour a giant of Gaelic games.

Chief mourners at the massive funeral were his wife Mary, daughter Orla, son-in-law Paul O'Connor, grandchildren Kevin and Aisling, sisters Pauline and Claire, and his extended family.

The large crowds that attended to honour the man simply known as 'Heffo' today mirrored more than 1,000 who attended the removal last night.


The hearse which took him to the church from St Francis Hospice in Raheny had stopped briefly outside the home of Dublin GAA, Parnell Park, the place where he planned his brilliant strategies which brought victory to great Dublin teams.

His cortege also passed his beloved St Vincent's GAA club and Clontarf Golf Club.

His coffin had been carried into the church firstly by members of Clontarf Golf Club, and then members of the 1970s Dublin team he built towards All-Ireland success.

Outside the church the coffin was taken by close friends, including former Dublin manager Pat Gilroy. Young members of St Vincent's club formed a guard of honour.

Flags of the county and club teams flew at half-mast in a nearby schoolyard.

A few fans in Dublin gear were among the 1,000 plus who came to pay their respects and give thanks to the man who gave his city and the GAA so much.

His friend and colleague from the ESB Michael Hayden paid tribute to Mr Heffernan from the altar, saying he "achieved extraordinary things through his life".

"Despite all of that, he resolutely refused to be considered to be an exceptional person in any sense," Mr Hayden said. "Those of you who know him well will know he always kept his feet firmly on the ground. He had an unflinching adherence to principles that he thought were important."

But more than anything, the removal was a Vincent's affair, with Monsignor John Fitzpatrick -- nephew of Vincent's founder Brother Fitzpatrick -- the chief celebrant.

Current Dublin stars including Alan Brogan and Paul Flynn, as well St Vincent's players Ger Brennan, Diarmuid Connolly, Michael Savage, Eamon Fennell, Tomas 'Mossy' Quinn and Tiernan Diamond were among those present.