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  • Wednesday December 15th, 2021 @ 18:17

Christy 'Kit' Fitzgerald - An Appreciation

All at St Patrick's Athletic were saddened to hear of the recent passing of Christy 'Kit' Fitzgerald, one of the stars of the club's golden era in the 1950's.

Along with team-mates such as Fergie Crawford and Dinny Lowry, Christy came up through the local schoolboy nursery, Bulfin United. Known for his prowess in the forward line, Christy won schoolboy and amateur international honours with the Republic of Ireland. At St Pat's he progressed through the youth team and Leinster League team (reserves) to win his place in the starting XI.

Christy's debut came as a teenager in Pat's second season in League of Ireland football, 1952/53, and saw him help the Saints to some silverware. He was on the scoresheet alongside Tommy Desay and Shay Gibbons in a 5-0 win over Dundalk in a replay of the LFA President's Cup Final. The Irish Press touted him as a potential successor to Shay Gibbons, but Christy would go on spend several years in the attack line alongside Shay.

Later that season Christy scored both goals in a remarkable third replay of the FAI Intermediate Cup final against Jacobs to win that cup for the Pat's reserves.

Christy became a regular first team player despite his youth, and went on to play in the 1954 FAI Cup Final aged only 19. He lined out at centre forward in an attack line which included his future brother-in-laws Tommy 'Longo' White and Paddy 'Ginger' O'Rourke. Pat's lost out 1-0 to Drumcondra on the day. A few weeks later, Christy went on to represent the Republic of Ireland in an amateur international against Scotland in Celtic Park.

Christy was a key part of St Pat's two League of Ireland title wins in 1954/55, when he scored six League goals, and in 1955/56, when he scored four and provided numerous assists. He also scored two League goals in the 1956/57 season and netted in several important Cup and Shield games for the Saints.

A versatile footballer, a 1958 programme noted he had played for the Saints in all forward positions, wing-half, and in emergency situations, at full back and centre half. As well as the two League titles, Christy also helped the Saints to three LFA President's Cups and two Dublin City Cups.

He later played for Leinster Senior League sides Workmen's Club and Jacobs before making a return to the League of Ireland with Shelbourne for the 1960/61 season.

Christy worked much of his life in Gilbey's and lived on Spiddal Road in Ballyfermot.

All at St Patrick's Athletic give our condolences to Christy's wife Sheila, son Christy, his extended family and many friends. Ní bheidh a leithéid ann arís. May he rest in peace.

By Dermot Looney (@HistoryStPats)

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Founded in 1929 the 'Saints' are the current FAI Cup holders and play in the Premier Division of the SSE Airtricity League at Richmond Park, in Inchicore Dublin 8, Ireland.

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