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Old rivals line out for good cause

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Members of Offaly's 1982 All-Ireland-winning team at the AAI fundraising event.

Members of Offaly's 1982 All-Ireland-winning team at the AAI fundraising event.

Members of Offaly's 1982 All-Ireland-winning team at the AAI fundraising event.

THIRTY years ago, they faced off in the breath-taking All Ireland football final that made the history books as Offaly ended a Kerry dream.

Three decades later, members of that winning Offaly team lined out once again in another good cause.

Among them was Seamus Darby, whose goal in the dying minutes of the 1982 final scuppered Kerry's five-in-a-row hopes.

But old rivalries were set aside as they linked up with Jack O'Shea, who captained the Kerry football team that lost that famous final.

They joined Niall Murphy (40), from the tiny village of Rhode in Offaly, who completed a 100km run to raise €100,000 for Irish Autism Action to support his 11-year-old son Ryan, who was diagnosed with the illness in 2004.

More than 740 joined Niall as he ran 10 laps of the Offaly town, but there was no greater lift to his spirits than when, exhausted as he began the last lap, he was joined by 10 members of the 1982 Offaly team.

Richie Connor was only too happy to support Niall, describing him as a true hero, going all out to raise vital funds for the worthiest of causes.

Boyzone's Keith Duffy, who due to injury couldn't run but who joined Niall on the home strait, was full of admiration for Niall and said the funds he raised would make a vital difference to the lives of children affected by autism and their families.

He said he had goosebumps as he watched Niall cross the line.

Irish Independent