Pat Dunney

In reading of the exploits of the Raheens and Éire Óg Clubs of the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, which are recorded in the archives of our local newspapers, one name features consistently in these match reports – Pat Dunney. Many factors are put forward for the amazing success of both clubs in that era but everyone agrees that on the playing fields the contribution made by Pat Dunney to their success was inestimable. As a player he was worshipped by the young players and supporters of both clubs in Caragh and he established a reputation for himself on a national basis in football and hurling which ranks with the reputations created by men like Sean O’Neill, Eddie Keher, Michael Kearns and Mattie McDonagh.

He first came to prominence in school competitions and featured in the Caragh under-14 football team which won the County Championship in 1956. He later captained a further under-14 winning side and figured on three out of four hurling teams which won Co. Juvenile titles. While only 14 he was selected in goal for the County Minor hurlers, with whom he played for five seasons and at 17 played in goal for the Kildare Junior hurling team which won the All-Ireland Final. Further All-Ireland medals were won with the Junior hurlers in 1966, the Intermediate team in 1969 and the under-21 football side which he captained in 1965. At Interprovincial level he possesses four Railway Cup hurling medals and one Railway Cup football medal and at national level has been selected on All Star teams.

He represented his county in both codes at all grades from juvenile to senior for two decades and these innumerable appearances in the lilywhite jersey saw Pat time and time again reproduce feats of brilliance which other players aspire to but very rarely achieve. He fully deserves the many tributes that have been paid to him and the following extract from “The Nationalist and Leinster Times” report of the All-Ireland Junior Hurling Final of 1966 in which Kildare beat Warwickshire in Birmingham is an example of the numerous accolades he has received from sports reporters.

“Every one of the six defenders contributed a lion’s share to the victory. Although they rarely clicked together each man was a hero at some stage of a thrill-a-minute game.

Pride of place goes to the devastating Pat Dunney who played the game of his life on Sunday, and only for the Kildare skipper’s great leadership and scintillating hurling, I would not be far wrong in saying that the cup would not be in Kildare this week. One of Ireland’s top dual players, Dunney’s display would have earned him a place on many senior teams and the way he hurled this year his reputation as a hurler has surpassed his great name as a footballer.”

Pat could be described as a great natural athlete and sportsman who excelled at any sport whether it was football, hurling, table tennis or handball and rarely turned in sub-par performances. His prowess on the playing fields was matched by a remarkable self-discipline and exemplary conduct which typifies most great sportsmen. While serving his county so well for so long, he never let his allegiance to Raheens and Éire Óg wane, even if it meant travelling long distances or togging out twice in the same day.

Pat amassed an unbelievable number of trophies, cups and medals over a distinguished playing career which he can now look back on with justified pride. Those medals include seven Kildare Senior Football Championships from 1964-1981, a Leinster Club Football Championship in 1981/82 and ten Kildare Senior Hurling Championships from 1964-1984. Before his playing days came to an end Pat had also established himself as a top official at both Club and County level, a path he embarked upon with his typical single mindedness and dedication. Three decades later Pat is still serving on the County Board and has also served on a number of committees at national level. We in Raheens will always be proud of you Pat.

Pat Dunney with cup after All-Ireland Junior Hurling Final 1966

Pat Dunney (No.10) & Peter Sharpe (No.15) knocking ball into Clane net 1964 Kildare Senior Football Final

Pat Dunney