In 1950, McGivern began his seven-year career with Melbourne, originally as a half-forward. McGivern won the club's best and fairest award in 1952, and played as a defender when the Demons overcame Collingwood by 28 points in the close 1955 Grand Final. But McGivern missed the 1956 Grand Final after he was injured in the second semi final. He played a total of 105 VFL games and kicked 53 goals, retiring at the end of the 1956 season due to chronic knee injuries.
McGivern died on 15 August 2015 at the age of 84.