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Mourners pay tribute at mass in home village

THE Irish family of Jim Stynes are comforted by the fact that his ashes are going to be scattered near his old training ground in Rathfarnham.

As thousands gathered in Melbourne to pay tribute to Stynes, he was remembered in Dublin last night as an "idealist".

His uncle Kevin said that the former Dublin GAA minor's passing was "the saddest day of our lives".

A special Mass at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Ballyroan, in Stynes' native Rathfarnham, brought together his Irish family, neighbours and many familiar faces from the GAA world.

The church is just a minute's walk from where Jim went to school and first kicked a football.

Christy Cooney, retired GAA commentator Micheal O'Muircheartaigh and the Australian ambassador to Ireland Bruce Davis all attended the service.

During an emotional tribute, Kevin said: "This was not supposed to happen, that an eldest son dies before his parents. We could never have imagined something like this happening." He said his nephew was an "idealist for whom no goal was unachievable".

Earlier, memorabilia including photographs, footballs and club jerseys were brought to the altar by his former teammates and members of Pearse Athletics Running Club, Ballyroan National School and Cumann na bhFiann where Jim went to summer camp.

Similar to the emotional scenes in Melbourne that follow a few hours later, the mass ended with a round of applause and standing ovation, accompanied by music from Finbar Furey.