Sunday 19 February 2017

'I just broke down': Jonny Cooper's dad on THAT photo and how the family recovered from Dublin star's stabbing

Published 03/10/2016 | 15:34

Dublin's Johnny Cooper holds the Sam Maguire cup with his father Brendan Picture: Damien Eagers
Dublin's Johnny Cooper holds the Sam Maguire cup with his father Brendan Picture: Damien Eagers

There were dozens of photos that summed up the momentous occasion that was last Saturday evening's All-Ireland final replay, but none came close to capturing the human side to the encounter quite like one picture of a Dublin defender and his dad.

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Jonny Cooper made a beeline for the crowd after Dublin secured back-to-back All-Ireland titles, greeting his father Brendan in an embrace with the Sam Maguire.

Read more: This poignant picture of Johnny Cooper and his dad in tears sums up the Dublin hero's incredible journey

The moment became too much for the elder Cooper, who shed a few tears, which was completely understandable when put into the context of Jonny's remarkable journey.

Shortly after Dublin were sensationally dumped out of the championship at the semi-final stage by Donegal in 2014, Cooper was stabbed in the city centre following a night out.

He had to watch that All-Ireland final in hospital, but returned to full health to resume his role in the Dublin defence while winning the subsequent two All-Ireland titles.

Sharing the victory with his father obviously meant a lot to Brendan, who spoke to RTE Liveline about the photo this afternoon.

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"It was such a touching moment," he told Joe Duffy.

"All I wanted to say was, well done, are you okay. I wouldn't be the most demonstrative but I just broke down."

Cooper also revealed that he and his son have never spoken about the stabbing incident, preferring to put it behind them completely as Jonny focuses on his inter-county career.

"That was one incident in his life that he wanted to put behind him right away," Cooper said.

"He didn't want to harp on it or effect his football career in any way.

"We have never spoken about it in any shape or form. We put it behind us and that is probably the best way to deal with it.

"The taxi driver was brilliant that evening and we couldn't have asked for more. He did what any common decent person would do."

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