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Heroes of renown such as the late Tony Dunne deserve greater status in sporting pantheon

Eamonn Sweeney


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Tony Dunne, Manchester United and Ireland defender, plays for Manchester United against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge London on 15th March 1969. Photo: Ian McLennan/Getty Images

Tony Dunne, Manchester United and Ireland defender, plays for Manchester United against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge London on 15th March 1969. Photo: Ian McLennan/Getty Images

Getty Images

Tony Dunne, Manchester United and Ireland defender, plays for Manchester United against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge London on 15th March 1969. Photo: Ian McLennan/Getty Images

TONY DUNNE had some career. It included a European Cup, two league titles, an FA Cup victory and several hundred first team games with Manchester United. Few Irish footballers achieved as much as the Dubliner, who died last Monday at the age of 78.

So why did he feel like something of a forgotten figure in Irish sport? You certainly wouldn't have described him as a household name. Yet Dunne (pictured) was there on one of the most famous nights in football history, starring at left-back as United beat Benfica in the 1968 European Cup final and playing a part in their first goal.

You'd be surprised how many people don't know the United team contained two Republic of Ireland internationals, Dunne and Shay Brennan, who was right-back at Wembley. There's a kind of historical amnesia about that era. People remember Johnny, as he was always called then, Giles but everything else before the Brady/Stapleton/O'Leary era seems to be forgotten.