The Class of '72
Sligo-born Howard Higgins was an elegant midfielder in the Summerhill College team that won the All-Ireland school’s championship in 1972. Howard died suddenly in Texas earlier this year and huge crowds, including many of his former team mates and class mates, attended his funeral when Howard’s remains were brought home to Sligo
Andy Kilfeather was a full-back in that Summerhill team. He is also one of the group of 13 who are organising the ‘Up The Bit O’ Red’ fundraising project to support Sligo Rovers. Andy sought the permission of Howard’s partner, Frances Tully, that contributions from ‘The Class of 72’ to the Bit O’ Red initiative would be made in memory of Howard Higgins.
Summerhill defeated Chanel College from Coolock in Dublin 3-2 in the final, played in Tolka Park. It was a thrilling game of end-to-end attacking football. The winning goal was scored by Paul ‘Ski’McGee who picked up the posession near the half-way line and dribbled past several opponents before planting the ball in the net.
The Summerhill side was coached by Fr Michael Devine and Sligo-born Michael McGowan, a member of the Summerhill College staff who had played universities football with UCG and who had a long career with Collegians FC.
The team had a great bond with Sligo Rovers . Johnny Chadda, a Maths teacher in Summerhill and Sligo Rovers Committee member, travelled with them to the game. The late James Tiernan was masseur on the day and the pre-match pep talk was given by one of the legendary figures of Sligo-Leitrim football, referee, Kevin ‘Neighbour’ Fallon
Andy Kilfeather is in email and social media contact with many of his former Summerhill College pupils. Their contributions will be recorded under the heading, ‘Class of ‘72 - in memory of Howard Higgins’, in the Bit O’ Red list, published each week from now until the campaign concludes at the end of March.
The late Howard Higgins
Photo courtesy of Frances Tully
Summerhill College Team Photo
Back row, (left to right) Fr Michel Devine, Joseph Jeiter, Tony Harlan, Kevin Guthrie, Philip Monaghan, Colm O’Kane, John O’Gara, Noel Connolly, Michel Mc Gown
Front row (left to right) Howard Higgins, Leo Borland, Paul McGee, Fergus Hopper, Martin James, Larry O’Gara, Eoin Gilhawley
Team Photo 2
Back Row, (left to right): Fr Michael Devine, Aidan Mannion, Rafael Rooney, Philip Monaghan, Vinnie Mc Terran, Paul McGee, John Carney, Vincent Harte
Front row (left to right): Tony Haran, Leo Boland, Howard Higgins,Fergus Hopper, Dermot O’Gorman, Eoin Gilhawley, Andy Kilfeather