January 29, 2008
Kerry mourns for a GAA legend who made his mark on Kerry life
The GAA world is in mourning this week following the death of Kerry legend Dan Kavanagh who passed away at his home on Sunday, at the age of 86.
Originally from Dún Chaoin, Dan had the rare honour of playing for two counties in an All-Ireland final. He played in two deciders for Galway and three finals for Kerry, winning the title in 1946.
He was also well known outside of GAA circles as an a leading engineer, working for Galway County Council before taking up the post of county engineer for Kerry from 1977 to 1986. He had previously worked for Kerry County Council from 1947-1962. He then served as County Engineer in Wexford from 1962-1968 and as Cork County Engineer from 1968-1977, before his appointment to the Kerry post.
"Our deepest sympathies go out to his wife Nellie, family and friends," Mayor of Kerry Cllr Michael Healy Rae stated. "In his time as County Engineer, he was well liked and respected by his colleagues and elected members, and worked hard on behalf of his native county."
He is survived by his wife Nellie, sons Seán and Donal, daughters Siobhan, Catherine and Eileen, his sister Catherine and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Dan was raised in West Kerry and at the age of 15 he secured a scholarship to Colaiste Caoimhín in Dublin where he had an early experience of playing in Croke Park with the Dublin Colleges team.
Like many Kerry footballers, he piled his trade outside the Kingdom, heading to University College Galway where he studied engineering. He won a Sigerson Cup medal with UCG in 1941 and went on to play centre field with the Galway side that competed in the All Ireland finals in 1942 and 1943. They were unlucky to lose both finals and Dan returned to Kerry where he donned the green and gold and played in three further finals in Croke Park. He finally experienced All Ireland success in 1946 as part of the winning side that defeated Roscommon in a replay.
He also played in the historic All Ireland played in the Polo Grounds in New York in 1947 when Kerry were defeated by Cavan.
As well as being a dual county star, Dan Kavanagh was also a dual province star, playing Railway Cup for both Connacht and Munster. He also won three Kerry senior county titles with three separate clubs - Dingle in 1944, Killarney in 1949 and Dick Fitzgeralds in 1951.
Dan was a member of the Dr Crokes Club from 1945 and gave great service to the black and amber for over 60 years.
His sons, Seán and Donal and grandson Eanna, also gave great service to the club.
Kerry County Board official and Dr Crokes stalwart, Patrick O' Sullivan said that Dan Kavanagh's death was a big loss.
"His contribution to the club was immense. When we were developing our grounds he helped to acquire and develop the lands. The amount of work he put in was huge.
"He was a nationally recognised figure in the GAA and is a huge loss to our club and, of course, to his wife and family," he said.
East Kerry Board chairman, Dermot Griffin, also extended his condolences of Dan's widow Nellie and family of their loss.
Dan Kavanagh featured in the recent bestselling compendium of Kerry's greatest footballers called Princes of Pigskin in which he told of his joy for the sport and his role in the Kerry team from 1944 and their victory in 1946. Dan Kavanagh passed away at this home on the Muckross Road on Sunday evening. Hundreds of mourners attended his removal from O'Shea's Funeral Home to St Mary's Cathedral on Monday. He will be buried in Aghadoe Cemetery on this Tuesday following his Requiem Mass in St Mary's Cathedral.
- Courtesy of The Kingdom, 29th January 2008
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