BEFORE Sunday’s NHL game between Kilkenny and Cork there was a minute’s silence in memory of the late Jimmy Heffernan, one of the last surviving members of the Kilkenny 1946 team.
Mr Heffernan joined the Kilkenny senior hurling panel in 1946. He was a sub on the team that lost to Cork by 7-5 to 3-8 in that year’s All-Ireland hurling final.
In 1947 he won an All-Ireland medal as Kilkenny gained revenge for their defeat 12 months earlier, beating Cork by 0-14 to 2-7 in the final. He also won an Oireachtas medal that year as Kilkenny beat Galway by 2-12 to 2-6.
He played in his third All-Ireland final in 1950, lining out at corner-forward against Tipperary. He marked John Doyle that day, but Kilkenny were beaten by 1-9 to 1-8.
Mr Heffernan made his senior club debut with Mullinavat in 1943. They qualified for the county final, beating Threecastles in the first round and Mooncoin in the semi-final, but lost the final to Carrickshock on a scoreline of 3-6 to 1-3.
The two clubs crossed swords again a year later, Carrickshock beating Mullinavat in the second round by 4-4 to 3-3. They were beaten again by the ’Shock in 1945, going down in the first round by 6-4 to 2-9.
In 1946 Heffernan transferred to Carrickshock. He helped them to reach the county final, but they were beaten by Thomastown (5-4 to 4-5). He reached another county final with Carrickshock in 1948, but they were beaten by Tullaroan on a 1-12 to 2-3 scoreline.
Mr Heffernan’s club career had a happy ending. He finally got his county senior championship medal in 1951, when Carrickshock beat Tullaroan in the final by 5-6 to 4-5. He retired from senior club hurling a year later following the semi-final loss to Tullaroan.
In 1953 he returned to his native parish of Glenmore and helped them to win the junior hurling championship, beating Foulkstown by 6-4 to 2-5. He also won four county senior football championship medals with Glenmore (1949, 1950, 1954, 1955).
Mr Heffernan also played football with Kilkenny, appearing in the Leinster junior final in 1953 when Kilkenny were beaten by Longford (3-5 to 1-5). He also played in the 1957 final when they lost to Louth (2-6 to 1-5).
A minute’s silence was also observed for Bill Walsh (Ballyhale), who won senior All-Irelands with Kilkenny in 1947 and 1957 and for Paul Skehan, a founding member of the Fenians (Johnstown) club. He was also a selector with the Kilkenny senior hurlers in 1972 and 1975.