Thursday 18 January 2018

Former Dubs star Stynes is home from Australia for the big match

Brian Stynes: Delighted to meet his old team mates
Brian Stynes: Delighted to meet his old team mates

Alan O'Keeffe

Among the fans heading for the All-Ireland final in Croke Park tomorrow are exiles visiting the homeland to support their county, including former Dublin All-Star Brian Stynes.

He made the journey from Australia to Ireland to cheer the team he loves.

"I watch all the Dublin games using the computer and television at home in Australia but I have to watch the games alone, except for the dog," said Stynes (43).

"And most people I meet regularly in Australia naturally won't give a crap how Dublin is doing. So, it's great to be back in Ireland with the Dublin fans and meeting my old team mates," he said.

Brian won an All-Ireland senior medal with Dublin in 1995 when the team defeated Tyrone.

"I'm really enjoying meeting my aunts and uncles and getting a chance to hook up with so many friends this week and visiting my old club Ballyboden Saint Enda's," he said.

Brian's father, Brian Senior, lives in Australia but was in Croke Park to see Dublin beat Mayo in the semi-final before returning home. Most of the family has de-camped down under, with Brian's three sisters and brother David, a former Dublin footballer, all living in Australia.

Brian's brother Jim, who won an All-Ireland with the Dublin minor football team, became a sporting legend in Australian Rules football. He died of cancer in 2012 and received a State funeral in Melbourne where a statue has been erected in his memory.

Brian was overjoyed to book his ticket back to Dublin when the Blues overcame Mayo.

"I was watching the game when my son asked me to drive him to his tennis game. I was able to play the match on the computer in the car. I dropped him off and I stayed in the car listening to the game.

"People must have wondered when they saw me cheering my head off in the car," he said.

"I'm delighted we're playing Kerry. There's great rivalry between us. There were some great matches in the 1980s and the players I most admired in that era were Brian Mullins and Jack O'Shea. I modelled myself more on Jack because I had the same build as him. I later had great times playing for Dublin," he said.

Meanwhile, broadcasting legend and Kerry supporter Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh has called for a statue of Dublin hero Kevin Heffernan to be placed in the city centre.

"I can't believe there is no monument to him in O'Connell Street," said the 85-year-old icon of the airwaves.

He remembered Heffo's great performance in the 1955 All-Ireland Final that Kerry won.

"It was he who gathered the massive following that Dublin had in his own playing days and later when he was manager.

"He was a very big figure in the game and he made Dublin into the great Gaelic county that it became, in the city and in the suburbs. And it's fantastic what has been accomplished," he said.

"A statue should be erected in O'Connell Street and I think the lead should come from the GAA in Dublin or from the Department that looks after sports in the Government," he said.

"There's always been a certain mystique surrounding the great rivalry between Dublin and Kerry," he said.

A bond was forged between the two counties in 1923 when Kerry refused to play in the All-Ireland unless certain Civil War detainees were released by the Government. It seemed the match would be awarded to finalists Dublin but the Dubliners also refused to play in solidarity with Kerry, he said.

The detainees were released and the match was played with Dublin emerging as the winners.

Irish Independent

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