Regarded as one of the greatest Gaelic footballers of all-time, Heffernan made his debut during the 1948 championship and was a regular member of the starting fifteen until his retirement after the 1962 championship. During that time he won one All-Ireland medal, four Leinster medals and three National League medals. An All-Ireland runner-up on one occasion, Heffernan captained the team to the All-Ireland title in 1958.
Heffernan has a number of personal achievements. In 1974 he became the only non-player to be honoured as the Texaco Footballer of the Year. In 1984 he was named in the left corner-forward position on the GAA's Team of the Century. He was moved to the opposite corner when he was named on the Team of the Millennium in 1999.
Kevin Heffernan was born on 20 August 1929 in Dublin. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he was not born into a football background, as his father's interests included hunting and shooting rather than Gaelic games. Heffernan's family moved to the Marino area of the city when he was very young, and it was here that he first came into contact with both football and hurling. He later attended Scoil Mhuire and St. Joseph's Christian Brothers school where he made great progress as a hurler and as a footballer. It was in secondary school that he first tasted major success, as he won a Leinster Colleges hurling title in 1945.