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Born in Ireland, Patrick Felix Cavanagh moved to Edinburgh as a young man when his parents fled to escape the terrible potato famine that was then ravaging the entire country.

Quickly settling into his new environment, Cavanagh was one of a group of young men who formed Hibernian Football Club in the summer of 1875, and he took part in Hibs first ever game, against Hearts at the Meadows on Christmas Day that year, newspaper reports of the time crediting him as having had an outstanding first outing.

During the following ten seasons as a Hibs player the resolute defender would take part in many historic games for the club including Hibs first ever Scottish Cup tie, a game against a side destined to become their greatest rivals, Heart of Midlothian in 1877. He also took part in the ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful floodlight experiment at Powderhall, one of the very first such games in the entire country, when Hibs defeated an Edinburgh select 3-0 on 11 November the following year.

A member of the first Hibs side to win a major honour when defeating local rivals Hearts in the final of the Edinburgh Association Cup in 1879, Cavanagh later took over the captaincy of the side on the retirement of Michael Whelahan, and was a mainstay in the Hibs side that defeated Hanover 5-0 on 14 February 1880, the clubs first ever game at the newly acquired first Easter Road.

In 1886 James McGhee and James Lundie became the first Hibs players to be capped at full international level when they were both selected to face Wales at Hampden, but that honour may well have fallen to Cavanagh much earlier. Selected for the Scottish Counties versus Glasgow trial game in 1883, only injury prevented him from taking part in the game, and how history may have been changed.

After ten seasons as a Hibs player, a period that saw the club emerge as the best side by far in the east of the country, the popular and well respected Cavanagh hung up his boots to take his place on the committee.

 

Patrick Cavanagh

 

A builder to trade with his own company, a major part of the astute Cavanagh's business was in laying granite floors and pavements, and he has a unique claim to fame. Not many football players can profess to having their name emblazoned on the streets of their city, but Hibs player Cavanagh is the exception. At the end of each contract the company name would be set in three inch high brass letters on the pavement, and could be found in many parts of the city.

Cavanagh also tried his hand at Politics and later became a Justice of the Peace.

He died at the relatively early age of 51.

The granite slab in the photograph is from the Morningside area of the city and was presented to the Historical Trust by a worker who took part in the renovation of the area several years ago.

If you can add to any historical article, perhaps with special memories, a favourite story or the results of your original research, the Hibernian Historical Trust would love to hear from you.
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