The Blue Panther

So many great memories of summers of fun and excitement – our heroes in blue. and now the poignancy of remembering one of the Dub’s greatest players and one of their most stalwart fans – both gone.


It was really sad to read this week about the passing of Anton O’Toole at the age of 68. This marks the first death among one of the most famous teams in GAA history.
Anton, or the Blue Panther as he was affectionately known by many supporters, won eight Leinster SFC medals – six in-a-row from 1974 to ‘79 as well as in 1983 and ‘84.


Jim was one of his greatest fans and one of the songs of the period – Fourteen on fourteen was off – was among Jim’s repertoire of party pieces.

Derek Warfield of Wolfe Tones fame penned the song following Dublin’s victory over Offaly in the 1979 Leinster football final. Despite Dublin player Jimmy Keaveny getting his marching orders, ‘the Dubs’ famously went on to claim victory with only Fourteen Men.

Am) And there was fourteen on fourteen was off,
(G) Jimmy on the sideline havin a gawk,
(Am) Heffo and the boys were working out a plan,
How to beat the Offaly lads (G) without the extra (Am) man.

On hill 16 they never gave up hope,
Without Jimmy Keavney the man they call the pope,
The last six minutes the hill was going mad,
While Offaly in the Hogan, they were looking very sad.

In the second half, Dublin should be proud,
They put it in the net twice to get the goal allowed,
The dubs may come, and dubs may go,
while history was made six lenister’s in a row.

And then came the goal, it came from centre-field,
Briany fists a tall ball down to Pat O’Neill,
Anton O’Toole’s pass I never will forget,
Bernard Brogan kicked a bomber, it landed in the net.


Heffo’s Army/The Jacks are Back written by Mick Swan and Daire Doyle (who also wrote Gallipoli for the Fureys) is another Dubs’ fan song of the time. It was a massive hit when released in the 1970’s, especially around Dublin. Interesting to listen to commentator Michael O’Hare through the song on You Tube.

The Jacks are back the Jacks are back, ok
Oh the Dubs are back the Dubs are back
Like the railway in ko-barmey ? I KNOW we used to sing “Let the Railway end go Barmy”
‘Cause hill 16 has never seen the likes
of Heffo’s Army.

We’ll be marching down from Ringsend,
And from Ballyfermot too.
From Eastwall and Marino,
To support the boys in Blue.
For 11 years we’ve waited
and there’s nothing left to prove
So lets here it now from Dublin
Heffo’s army’s on the loose.

The Jacks are back the Jacks are back, ok

The Jacks are back the Jacks are back, ok
Oh the Dubs are back the Dubs are back
“Let the Railway end go Barmy”
‘Cause hill 16 has never seen the likes
of Heffo’s Army.

We came marching out of Leinster,
But no one thought we would.
Then we smashed the mighty champions
When they said we never could.
For 11 years we’ve waited,
Now there’s nothing left to prove,
So let’s hear it now for Dublin
Heffo’s army’s on the loose.

The Jacks are back the Jacks are back, ok

Oh the Dubs are back the Dubs are back
“Let the Railway end go Barmy”
‘Cause hill 16 has never seen the likes
of Heffo’s Army.

So here’s to Heffo’s army
And to all the boys in Blue
When the odds were stacked against them
They knew just what to do
So let’s stay right behind them
Keep them on the winning track
With a mighty roar from Croker
Let them know the Jacks are back

Oh! the Dubs are back the Dubs are back
“Let the Railway end go Barmy”
‘Cause hill 16 has never seen the likes
of Heffo’s Army.


Author: Breda Fay

I'm retired since end August 2016 and loving the new life! More time now for family and friends and to explore craft, history, travel and certainly more of a chance for, me-time. To paraphrase Seuss: I've no tears that (teaching) is over; but many smiles that it happened!

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