There is an expression in the entertainment industry; Timing is everything. It can equally apply to football careers and Kevin Kirwan was an example of that. Kirwan graduated to senior ranks from Norwood juniors in 1940. He had gained a reputation as an elusive, goal kicking half forward. World War 2 had already started and soon both Norwood and Kevin were to feel its consequences.
It may have seemed that 1940 was an opportune time to break into the Norwood senior side. The Advertiser 18 April 1940 reported that, “Enlistments have cut Norwood’s 1940 team down to 12.” It would seem that opportunities abounded.
In realty the comings and goings of so many players led to great instability in team selection. Kevin did make inroads into a league career but in his 10 matches he played as 19th man, half forward, forward pocket, half back and back pocket. He was hardly given a chance to settle. Even so, at season’s end he won the most improved junior award.
A game that stood out was the 1940 semi-final against South. Kirwan was a late inclusion when Tom Warhurst withdrew due to illness. He played in a forward pocket and kicked two goals in a losing side and was named in the best players.
1941 saw Kirwan’s career come to an end when like so many of his compatriots, he enlisted in the armed services. He never returned to Norwood and so what might have been a fine league career was not given the chance to develop
B Ridge March 2019