Kevin Blount Tribute: July 2013
Dundalk Football Club extends our sympathy to the family and friends of Kevin Blount – our legendary goalkeeper who was part of the famous 1966/67 League, Shield and Top Four Cup winning team – who died in Dublin yesterday. May he rest in peace. Funeral details can be found here. Jim Murphy has provided this tribute of one of the League of Ireland’s greatest keepers:
Kevin Blount was born in Dublin in 1930.
Colourful…controversial…entertaining…showman… These were just a sample of the descriptions of Kevin Blount during his 21-year League of Ireland career. What was not in doubt was the accolade of being the best goalkeeper of his era—eleven League of Ireland Inter-League appearances in the space of four years were testimony to his skills.
In addition, he was reserve with the Irish International team on five occasions. Strong, agile and just short of six feet, he was once described as ‘possessed of a danger-despising temperament’.
Starting his goal-keeping career with the 7th Battalion Army team as an 18-year-old, he later had a spell with Brooklyn in the Leinster League. A representative appearance against a team from Birkenhead—and saving three penalties in the game—was the prelude to signing with Shelbourne.
After a month with the Shel’s reserves, an injury to first team keeper Peter Keogh led to his promotion and he made his League of Ireland debut in January 1953 in a top of the league clash with Drumcondra, finishing 1-1. He retained his position between the posts when the Reds went on to win the League, collecting his first Championship medal after just a couple of months at senior level and nine first team League appearances.
After a couple of seasons with the Reds (28 League and Cup apps), and a while with Leinster League Botanic, he returned to League of Ireland action with Transport , where he saw plenty of action. Making his Transport debut in January 1956, his outstanding performances with the League of Ireland’s perennial table-proppers earned his first League of Ireland cap in September 1958 and almost single-handedly he defied the Scottish League all-star strike force at Ibrox Park, going down by a single goal. In the 1960-61 season he added penalty taker to his goalkeeping duties and converted a couple. [2-1 win over Shamrock Rovers City Cup; 6-1 League win over Bohemians].
He had seven League caps before joining Cork Celtic, where he continued to receive League honours, adding four more, his last being at Celtic Park in October 1962 when the Scottish League selection overpowered the Irish with an 11-0 victory.
With Cork Celtic for the 1961-62 season, he won a City Cup medal but suffered the heartbreak of losing the League Championship to his old club Shelbourne in a play-off. The 1964 FAI Cup final was similarly lost, when Shamrock Rovers—winners of all the season’s trophies except the Top Four Cup—took the honours in a replay with an Eddie Bailham goal just four minutes from the final whistle.
The departure of Mick Millington from Cork Celtic to Dundalk in 1965 deprived Kevin of a travelling companion on the journeys from Dublin and he requested a move, playing little part in the 1965-66 season. He was aged 36 when he followed Mick to Dundalk for the 1966-67 year, sharing in the glory of victories under Alan Fox in the League, Shield and Top Four Cup, and with a team that is many Dundalk fan’s favourite for the club’s best ever team.
With just 19 goals conceded in the 22-game League—only 4 at home—Kevin’s ten clean sheets created the foundations for a memorable year. The following season promised similar rewards until the unexpected and acrimonious departure of player-manager Alan Fox in early March 1968, scuppering a promising League position.
1966-67 Winners League, Shield and Top Four Cup; Runners-Up Dublin City Cup and Leinster Cup.
Back (l-r): Larry Gilmore, Ben Hannigan, Francie Callan, Christy Barron, Kevin Blount, Mick Millington, Tony O’Connell, Derek Stokes, Jim Burke.
Front (l-r): Fra Brennan, Kevin Murray, Alan Fox, Patsy McKeown, Paddy Turner, Danny Hale.
Fox’s move to Limerick, beaten earlier by Dundalk in the FAI Cup in a controversial 1-0 Oriel Park fracas, led to serious repercussions before the month was over when Dundalk visited Limerick for an important League match. ‘Confrontational’ would be an understatement and matters finally boiled over when Blount ran the length of the field to confront Fox after yet another ‘dust up’. The resulting Dundalk penalty in the dying minutes of the game, converted by Paddy Turner, simply stoked the crowd’s anger further. Mayhem followed the final whistle and the visitors had to be smuggled out of the Markets Field to the screams of local supporters’ chants of ‘We want Blount’.
He returned to Cork in December 1968, playing half dozen games with Hibernians.
In the early 70s he spent a couple of seasons with St Patrick’s Athletic, his sixth League of Ireland club. Fittingly he closed his League of Ireland career with Shelbourne, playing his last game in April 1974 at Tolka Park, aged 44, over 21 years after he had made his League debut with the same club.
Always extremely fit, he became an active member of the Professional Footballers Golf Society. Playing to a handicap of 10, he held the course record at Slade Valley with a highly commendable 65. In 2004 he became the first non-Cork born person to be selected to receive the prestigious Cork Soccer Legend Award.
4 wins: League, Shield, Top Four Cup 1966-67: City Cup 1967-68
5 Runners Up: League 1967-68; 2 Shield 1967-68 and 1968-69; City Cup 1966-67; Leinster Cup 1966-67