|Debut:||21-Aug-66, Shield, (a) Cork Celtic, 1-1|
Junior International honours, six Amateur International caps and two seasons with Bohemians, where he scored 15 goals (42 league appearances) in the company of Turlough O’Connor and Larry Gilmore, were Kevin Murray’s credentials when he joined an Oriel Park all-star cast for Dundalk’s 1966-67 season.
Enticed to Dalymount Park in the summer of 1964 by newly-appointed manager Sean Thomas from junior club St Brendans, he and Jimmy Conway provided the wing-half strength for a Bohs renewal that delivered two third place finishes in the League after years of propping up the table.
The 1965-66 season also delivered two senior trophies after a gap of almost 20 years, with the added bonus of defeating Dublin rivals in the finals, with victories over Shamrock Rovers in the Presidents Cup and Shelbourne in the Leinster Senior Cup. Kevin’s terrier-like tackling was allied to an attacking instinct that saw him moving constantly from defence to attack.
Once described by the Dundalk Democrat as ‘the man with three lungs’, he missed only 5 competitive games in his first 3 seasons with Dundalk. Lining out at inside right he was the midfield dynamo that drove the squad in his first season to a fistful of medals (3 wins and 2 runner ups) including the League Championship—defending, fetching, providing the linkage between wing halves and forwards, penalty and free-kick taker, always available to score vital scores and inevitably to be found wherever the action was.
After the departure of Jim Burke he reverted to right half with Mick Millington switching to left half. Sometimes employed as a defensive sweeper, his true role was as an aggressive, storming, attacking wing-half.
For four full seasons he was the heartbeat of the team, ever driving both himself and his mates during the club’s most successful era since its 1926 introduction to the League of Ireland. He rarely missed a game until a knee operation in October 1969 knocked him out for three months.
Early in the 1970-71 year he and Mick Millington departed for Glentoran, signed by the Glen’s Board over the head of irate manager Peter McParland, after a shock European Cup loss to Waterford. But after 20 games Kevin was on the move again, this time to St Patrick’s Athletic.
His St Patrick’s Athletic League tally of 13 goals in 1972-73 was exceeded only by proven goal scorers Terry Harkin ( Finn Harps) and Alfie Hale (Waterford ) with 20 each, and Johnny Matthews (14), all three playing with the clubs that finished in the top two League spots.
Transfer-listed by St Patrick’s, he spent the 1973-74 year with second-from-the-bottom Shelbourne, [League Record 17 apps, 6 goals] where his penalties and free-kick conversions provided most of his six goals contribution.
His last League of Ireland involvement came in April 1975, with only 4 games remaining in the 1974-75 Championship, when Athlone’s manager Amby Fogarty took him on ‘loan’ from Glenmore Celtic, amidst some controversy, to help the Midlander’s successful push for League runner-up spot and qualification to compete in the EUFA Cup.
Across ten League of Ireland seasons he scored 55 League goals, with four clubs, Bohemians, Dundalk, St Patrick’s Athletic and Shelbourne. He had the distinction of scoring the first Dundalk goal in the new turned-around Oriel Park, when he scored from a penalty in the August 1966 4-1 defeat of Drogheda in the inaugural Donegan Cup match.
What They Said About Him
Glasgow Rangers programme: “Moves with rhythm and intelligence …reads the game with shrewdness and foresight ….joins the attack when Dundalk forwards surge …making them one of the highest scoring teams in Europe.”
5 Wins: League, Shield and Top Four 1966-67; 2 City Cup 1967-68, 1968-69
5 Runners up: League 1967-68; 2 Shield 1967-68, 1968-69; City Cup and Leinster Cup 1966-67.
|Career League and FAI Cup Goals|
|St Patrick's Ath||1970-73||21||3|
|10 seasons Totals||55||9|
|European Competition Player Stats|
|Dundalk||1967-68||EUC||2 (0) 0|
|Dundalk||1968-69||FRC||4 (0) 1|
|Dundalk||1969-70||FRC||2 (0) 0|
|Total||8 (0) 1|
|EUC=European Cup; FRC=Fairs Cup|