Saturday 17 November 2018

Cavan football mourns loss of legend Higgins, hero of 1947 Polo Grounds

Martin Breheny

Widely regarded as one of the greatest talents ever to emerge from Cavan, he also left a huge imprint on the national scene in a career which took him to remarkable heights.

Winner of three All-Ireland senior medals in 1947, '48 and '52, he also won seven Ulster senior championship medals, two National League medals and two Railway Cup medals with Ulster.

Higgins (pictured below) was born in New York but returned to his mother's hometown of Kilnaleck at the age of five and as he went through his student days, it quickly became apparent that he was a special talent.

He won his first Ulster senior medal in 1943 and four years later he was a key member of the Cavan team that beat Kerry in the All-Ireland final in the Polo Grounds, New York. Cavan retained the title in 1948 against Mayo and four years afterwards, Higgins scored 0-7 as he led the Breffni men to another All-Ireland final win, this time over Meath.

When his outstanding playing days were over, he turned to coaching, enjoying considerable success with Longford and Cavan whom, remarkably, he worked with at the same time in the 1960s. In 1987 he was chosen as an All-Time All Star and was inducted into the Texaco Hall of Fame in 1989.

And last November he was named at No 36 in the Irish Independent's top 125 players of all time.

Away from Gaelic football, Higgins made a big impression as a greyhound owner and trainer.

Describing him as a man who made an immense and lasting contribution to Gaelic games, GAA President Christy Cooney last night offered his condolences on behalf of the Association to Mick's wife Margaret, son John, daughters Terry, Jean, Brenda and also the wider Higgins family.

Irish Independent

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