Patrick Kavanagh’s Football Career

After today I’m going to drop the subject of Irish athletics for a while (but will return to it eventually, I hope).  But I can’t leave out this (from “God and the Referees:  Unforgettable GAA Quotations”).

Patrick Kavanagh (1913-1967) was considered the greatest Irish poet after Yeats—at least until Seamus Heaney came along.  And the poets of Heaney’s generation generally acknowledge their debt to Kavanagh.

Kavanagh was from a little place called Inishkeen in County Monaghan; and he did play football  (very briefly!) for his home parish.

From the book (the professor is Augustine Martin):

“Why do you refuse to talk about Kavanagh?  Is he not the man who put your village on the map?”  One of the wise men lifted his head looked the professor in the eye and said, “Kavanagh cost us a county final.”

The village of Inishkeen was a couple of points ahead of Latton in the 1930 county final when Patrick Kavanagh, the keeper, seeing the ball at the other end of the field, sauntered over to the sideline to buy a bottle of orange.  By the time he made it back, the ball was in the net and the game was lost.  Later Kavanagh would claim, though possibly apocryphally, that he had wandered off to buy an ice cream.


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