Row Man of the Year 1997, Bryan O’Higgins died peacefully at his home in Shankill, Co. Dublin on December 22nd 2022. Bryan was a valuable member of the PPU committee for many years and his wise advice and assistance proved invaluable on many occasions.
Bryan graduated from the ROW in 1957 and was already a legend because of his intellectual, sporting and other achievements. He achieved first place in Ireland in higher Maths in his final year. Full details of Bryan’s many achievements in the academic and sporting arenas are set out on pages 171/2 of Cuimhneachan 1864 – 2014.
On leaving school, Bryan joined an Garda Siochana and went on to reach the high rank of Superintendent which included a stint as head of the Garda Press Office.
After his term at the Press Office, Bryan served in Bosnia as UN Chief of Operations and as Contingent Commander and Department of Foreign Affairs representative on Irish Affairs. This was at the height of the Balkan war and during his time there, the majority of his senior command colleagues were killed.
When Bryan was elected Row Man of the Year in 1997 our Newsletter at the time published the following tribute –
“Congratulations to our old friend Superintendent Bryan O’Higgins, a truly worthy Row Man of the Year 1997. As Garda Press Officer, Bryan was daily in the public glare. His cool and efficient handling of this high pressure job, in the violent and troubled times won him many admirers and plaudits. To those of us who remember Bryan from the ROW this period comes as little surprise”
Bryan will be greatly misssed. Ar Dheis De go raibh a anam.
Bryan’s funeral Mass was said at St. Anne’s church Shankill on Friday December 30th. 2022. PPU Chaplain, Fr. Eugene McCarthy was among the celebrants on the altar. There was a good turn out of past pupils including President, Dan Ferrari. The photo below was taken from Bryan’s funeral Mass leaflet
Bryan with his wife Marisa who pre deceased him
Bryan in more recent times with his sons and grandchildren
This article, reproduced in full below, was written by Finbarr Dolan shortly after the 1963 All Ireland Football Final and was focused on Gerry Davey (Class of 1962) and Row Person of the Year 2023. Finbarr did a great job of capturing all aspects of a great occasion for Gerry and his family. It’s also great as a dose of nostalgia for ROW past pupils especially those of us who knew Gerry and who delighted in his contribution to Dublin football at the time.
With regard to Gerry’s Biography, published in News Blog on December 15th, John Cullen has pointed out that the players highlighted in the team photo were all from Clanna Gael for which the Row was a feeder school. John also mentions that Gerry was quite an accomplished hurler and he was on a Clanna Gael hurling team that won a Junior Dublin County Championship around the same time they won the County Senior Football title in 1968 or shortly after that.
With regard to the photo of the Inis Ealga Dancers in action, published in the December 15th article, it may well be that the male dancer in the foreground, facing the camera, is actually another ROW boy and from the Class of 62 also, Anthony Dowling. As far as I recall he mainly used the Irish version, Antoine O’Dunlaing, of his name. Maybe some of our readers will be able to confirm this and, hopefully, give us some information about Antoine. Don’t forget to use the Comment facility on this, or any previous Blog if you want to get in touch.
Don’t forget also to get in touch with old classmates to organise your numbers for the Dinner on January 28th. Booking is now open and you can pay on line. If not paying on line simply text me on 087 2557298 or contact any member of the committee.
Finbarr Dolan Article published in 1963 –
Dublin had not contested a final since 1958…..a full 5 years. Rumblings among supporters were that this was not acceptable for a county that had brought swerve and swagger to our national game. Heffo was drafted in as a selector which kick started his managerial career. The mantra was that Dublin should be eating at the top table again so plans were put in place to restore pride back to the city.
St. Vincent’s and Clanna Gael were dominating club football, so both teams were watched regularly to see what they could contribute to the campaign. In those days, the average age of county players was 25 plus. However, one player, aged 19, from Clanna Gael caught the eye.
Gerry Davey was an athlete of great fitness with the speed of a gazelle and a keen eye for goal. He was the son of Eugene (Sligo) and Ellie (Clare), not hotbeds of football and to this day, neither county have won the Sam Maguire.
Gerry was the second eldest of six children born in an 11 year span, the first boy in the family of four boys and two girls. His early GAA influences were Ted Cooling, schoolmaster at Star of the Sea, then onto Westland Row CBS where Brothers Hickey and Treacy nurtured Gerry’s talent to the extent that Bro. Hickey predicted he would play for Dublin.
The question was – could Gerry cut the mustard with the Foley Brothers, John Timmons, Des Ferguson and Mick Kissane? At 19 he had massive competition from older players to get a starting spot in the campaign. Gerry grasped his chance in the League. The Championship saw Dublin brush aside Meath, Kildare and Laois in Leinster before beating Down on the way to the final.
Gerry, playing his part when called upon as starter or sub demonstrated a physical and mental toughness way beyond his years. The tension mounted throughout the other 31 counties as Dublin, once again, brought style, charisma, pride and passion both on and off the field of play.
The team was announced at training the week before the final and it was no surprise that Gerry, the Irishtown Hero, was selected at number 12. A week of almost sleepless nights in the Davey household by everyone but Gerry followed. He took his elevation to hero status in his community in his stride and shouldered his responsibility like Eugene and Ellie had taught him.
The morning of the final, Gerry did not break with tradition and travelled alone on the number 3 bus to the city, walking the remaining distance. There were no pre-match meals in those days. The crowds in their thousands flocked to Croke Park by bike, bus, horse and foot. The ferry crossing the Liffey from South to North had extra boats in use due to the demand and many from Gerry’s surrounding parishes availed of the ferryman.
A crowd of 87,106 thronged Croke Park for the final, the third biggest ever attendance on record. Two of Gerry’s brothers, Brendan and Eugene Jnr. paid through the turnstiles at the Canal End, the home of Dublin Southside fans for years. Gerry’s parents and the rest of the family, Nuala, Veronica and Paddy, took their seats in the Ard Comhairle (a premonition of victory in their blood).
The scene was set, the cauldron of noise as the players paraded could be heard far and near. The match was a tight and tense affair played in a sporting manner, as play switched from end to end. Half time saw Galway leading by 0-6 to 0-4.
In the changing rooms there were no stats men, no physios, no clipboards, no TVs for reruns. However, there was a group of Dubs who knew that the city was calling, the desire to bring Sam back to his rightful place was the focus.
Every player in the 32 man squad knew that they had 30 minutes to show they would not be found wanting. Although still a teenager, this was Gerry’s opportunity to live the dream, to play his part, to deliver on the biggest stage both as an individual and as a team member. Gerry was playing for himself, his team, his club, his parish, his city and he was not going to let his family down.
The Davey name would play a huge part in Dublin GAA in the years ahead and this was his stage to kickstart the tradition as his brothers Eugene and Paddy also became leading lights through the decades, both playing, managing and in administration within Dublin GAA.
The players took their positions for the second half and what came next was a moment never to be forgotten. Dublin attacked into the Hill and worked the ball forward to our Irishtown Hero who scored the only goal of the game to turn the tide in Dublin’s favour 1-9 to 0-10.
Gerry recalls the noise from the stands and the terraces after the goal and then his teammates fighting tooth and nail for the rest of the game. The referee, the late Eamon Moules (Wicklow), blew the final whistle and the rest became a blur.
Every player was hoisted onto shoulders and carried to the Hogan Stand for the presentation to captain Des Foley by President de Valera. The holy grail was reached, the pain since 1958 ebbed away, pride was restored to every man, woman and child in the city. A trip to Glendalough was the reward to the squad on the Monday, schools were visited over the following weeks as a motivation for future generations with a special hurrah every time our Irishtown Hero was introduced.
Chris Kane and Gerry Davey with Sam at the school in 1963
The PPU Committee is delighted to announce that Gerry Davey has been elected ROW Person of the Year 2023 and will be presented with the PV Doyle Trophy at our Annual Dinner at the Westbury on January 28th next. Gerry graduated from the ROW in 1962 and he becomes the third person from that class to receive this honour.
Gerry played football and hurling with Clanna Gael from the tender age of 6, winning the club championship in 1968. He continued to develop his football and hurling skills at the ROW and he credits the coaching provided by Brothers Hickey and Tracey with helping him along the way. He says that Bro. Hickey predicted in 1962 that he would play for Dublin and, in October of that year, he got his first game with the senior Dublin team. They famously won the All Ireland in 1963 when Gerry scored the winning goal in the final against Galway on a score of 1-9 to 0-10. They beat an up and coming Down team in the semi final by 2-11 to 0-7.
The writer remembers that campaign very well because I attended all Dublin’s matches. All their games were in Croke Park. Those were the days when you could just turn up, pay your shilling and get a good vantage point under the Cusack Stand.
The ROW was also represented on that 1963 team by another great ROW man, Christy Kane, who, unfortunately, passed away in early 2020. Below is a great photo of the 1963 winning team with both Gerry and Christy highlighted separately for good measure.
Dublin All Ireland Champions 1963 with two ROW Boys to the fore.
“IRISHTOWN HERO HELPED DUBS BACK TO THE TOP TABLE” was the title of a fascinating magazine article, setting the scene and giving an account of the match, with focus on Gerry, written by Finbarr Dolan after the match. I hope to publish that article in full is a separate News Blog in the near future.
Gerry was a regular on the Dublin team for nine more years and he won a National League medal in 1964.
in 1969 Gerry married Colleen Sweeney from County Fermanagh and they settled in Portmarnock. They have four daughters and one son.
Gerry was (maybe still is?) an accomplished Irish Dancer and and featured prominently with the Inis Ealga Dancers. The photo below shows Gerry stepping it out on the RTE programme Beo go Deo in 1966.
Maybe Gerry will show us a few steps at the Dinner??
Gerry had a 33 year career with Bord Na Mona managing sales and procurement. He also covered logistic management roles of Moss Peat in the European and Far Eastern markets.
Gerry has been busy with Naomh Marnog Gaelic Football Club over many years. He managed many teams and was involved with setting up the Nursery Academy to nurture football and hurling skills in the young boys and girls. he involved Transition Year students in coaching sessions.
Gerry was also involved in community development in the expanding area. He canvassed the community in a campaign to provide education facilities and this resulted in the opening of Portmarnock Community School in 1979.
Author’s Note: I would like to acknowledge the assistance provided by Gerry’s wife, Colleen, in compiling this article. She sent me a lot of the material including the photographs which, I think, readers will greatly enjoy. As I write, I’m thinking of our old classmates from 1962, including our old friend Eamonn O’Malley RIP , as well our friends like Marius Sykes and Conor Dwyer who may be reading this article in their homes overseas. Spare a thought for all the great ROW sportsmen who have passed away in recent times. I am also mindful of our many past pupils who were players with Clanna Gael, including Christy Kane RIP. There is a lot of sadness around Christmas time when one recalls absent friends. May those who have gone before us rest in peace and may all our readers have a Happy and Holy Christmas. Looking forward to 2023 Make sure to book your place for the Dinner on January 28th and help give Gerry and Colleeen the celebration they deserve. Happy Christmas, Jim Conway.
BOOK NOW TO CATCH UP WITH OLD FRIENDS IN THE WESTBURY
WE’RE BACK TO OUR TRADITIONAL JANUARY DATE PROVIDING AN OPORTUNITY TO MEET OLD FRIENDS, CELEBTATE CLASS GROUP ANNIVERSARIES AND ROW PERSON OF THE YEAR 2023.
GERRY DAVEY (CLASS OF ’62) HAS BEEN ELECTED ROW PERSON OF THE YEAR 2023 AND WILL RECEIVE THE PV DOYLE TROPHY AT THE DINNER. YES, IT WILL BE 60 YEARS SINCE GERRY SCORED THAT MEMORABLE GOAL IN CROKE PARK TO WIN THE ALL IRELAND FOR DUBLIN.
THE PPU BURSARIES AWARDED TO TWO STUDENTS WHO GRADUATED IN 2002 AND WENT ON TO THIRD LEVEL EDUCATION WILL ALSO RECEIVE THEIR AWARDS AT THE DINNER.
WE CAN LOOK FORWARD TO A GREAT NIGHT WITH THE USUAL WESTBURY HOSPITALITY AND EXCELLENT FOOD. HAVING ATTENDED PPU DINNERS IN NUMEROUS VENUES, PRESIDENT DAN FERRARI, SAYS THAT THE WESTBURY IS WELL OUT IN FRONT.
TICKETS THIS YEAR WILL COST €70 AND EARLY BOOKING IS ADVISED.
PLEASE PAY ONLINE DIRECT TO THE PPU BANK ACCOUNT AT BANK OF IRELAND, COLLEGE GREEN TO THE FOLLOWING IBAN IE16BOFI90137810367025, BIC BOFIIE2DXXX. PLEASE MAKE SURE TO SHOW YOUR NAME AND PUT DINNER 23 IN THE INFORMATION BOX.