|Place Of Birth:||Dundalk|
|Date Of Death:||May 22 1944|
|Place Of Death:||Dundalk|
|Debut:||1-Oct-39, Shield, (A) v. Cork City|
Kevin Cluskey—”our little goalkeeper” according to the match programme—first became involved with Dundalk when he was called upon at the last minute to play with the reserves in the 1937-38 year. A very active keeper and though small in stature, it was no trouble to him to rise above the crossbar and he made the reserve spot his own.
He made his senior debut for a Shield trip to Cork on October 1st 1939 following an injury which sidelined first team keeper Charlie Tizard until the New Year. During his 13-match stretch Kevin was only twice on the losing side as Dundalk stormed to the top of the League table. But just three matches into Charlie’s comeback he again broke down and Kevin was restored to the first team.
A disastrous first round FAI Cup loss in the following season to non-league Distillery precipitated a big clear out—Charlie was one of those who left. Until the end of the following season, a total of 51 consecutive games, Kevin Cluskey became an ever-present. Gerry Matier’s arrival for the next season, the historic first FAI Cup-winning year, saw Kevin go back to the reserves and he was only called upon for two further senior games.
In the club’s first 15 League of Ireland seasons only three keepers had accumulated more club appearances, Ben Lewis (99), Charlie Tizard (98) and Peter McMahon (75). He always wore a bright yellow keeper’s jersey and was the first Dundalk native to become the regular netminder.
Employed at Rawson’s Shoe Factory, he continued to play with the reserves until he became ill at the beginning of the 1943-44 season and his death in May 1944 was mourned throughout the local community.
What They Said About Him
On his death the Dundalk Democrat’s tribute contained the following: “… pleasant and likeable…brilliant and daring keeper…speed and ready anticipation…many a time he thrilled big Dublin crowds with whom he was a great favourite.”
1 Runner Up: City Cup 1940-41.