Friday 19 January 2018

Inside back

Former rugby player Andrew Dunne
Former rugby player Andrew Dunne

Where are they now?

Andrew Dunne (Former rugby player)

Growing up in Blanchardstown and going to school in Belvedere was the perfect scenario for sports-mad Andrew Dunne. Away from school, the former Leinster outhalf played Gaelic football with St Brigid's and soccer with Verona and while at school he played rugby and cricket.

At first, being on several teams was manageable but as Dunne progressed and realised that there were options in the world of professional sport, he focused on rugby.

While at Belvedere College he was selected for the Leinster and Ireland under 18 teams. At that time there was just one general Ireland academy. When he left school he was picked for that and a few months later he secured a contract with Leinster. Dunne stayed with the province for four years but a series of injuries limited his opportunities. Although he eventually recovered fully, making the first team was difficult with Leinster leaning towards marquee signings.

In 2003, he moved to Harlequins and while there he stayed injury-free and they won the Amlin Challenge Cup. From there he moved to Bath and then back to Leinster in 2006. He spent a year as back-up to Felipe Contepomi and after that he moved to Connacht to finish out his career.

After he hung up his professional boots, he enrolled in the Royal College of Surgeons to study physiotherapy and joined Old Belvedere as an assistant coach and captain. In 2011, they won the All-Ireland League, defeating Cork Con.

"That win was one of my greatest memories on the rugby field,"says Dunne. "It was nice to play with your own club and win something as prestigious as that."

The following year he became head coach at Old Belvedere and retired from playing. It was a challenging role, managing a big squad and juggling his studies but an enjoyable one.

After qualifying as a physiotherapist, he worked in the Sports Surgery Clinic in Santry and then a few months ago he took up a job with the Irish Cricket Team. Dunne is familiar with many of the current team including Ed Joyce and Niall O'Brien as he played on the Irish Schools team and also on the Irish under 19 squad.

He's still a big Leinster Rugby fan and thinks they should win today against Castres. "I'd back Leinster when their backs are to the wall, they have a better squad, with more ability."

Quote of the week

'The perceived contradiction between playing football, the man's game, and being homosexual is nonsense. I don't think anyone has ever come away from watching a game with me thinking there's something wrong or 'too soft' with my game'

-- Thomas Hitzlsperger reveals he is gay

Number of the week

22 The number of years since Manchester United last lost three games in one week. Between January 1 and 7 2014 they lost to Tottenham, Swansea and Sunderland.

Have your say

Johnny's Clare claim to fame

IN last week's 'Hold the Back Page', John O'Brien had a story about the late Pa Dillon getting stitched by Dr Cuddihy.

Mr O'Brien stated that Pa Dillon was injured in a clash with Puddin' Cullinane in the Oireachtas final of 1967 against Clare, but this is not the correct story. The incident was between Johnny Cullinan of the famed Ruan club and Pa. As this is Johnny's claim to fame in the Clare jersey, I would be very appreciative if you could publish this.

P Cosgrove

Friends' tragic rift can be healed

AFTER reading both Donal Lynch's interview with Paul Kimmage and Mr Kimmage's piece in SPORT 2014, I was deeply troubled by the revelation of Mr Kimmage's falling-out with David Walsh.

Mr Kimmage's writing is at times inspired, insightful, profound and knowledgeable, as well as being controversial, anti-establishment, rash and at times unfairly critical. The loss of his former best friend, fellow anti-doping crusader and esteemed journalist, David Walsh, is both a personal and professional tragedy.

I have admired Mr Kimmage's work all my life and the suggestion in his interview that he may never speak to David Walsh again came as a major shock to me as he has been entwined in Mr Kimmage's journalistic career.

This sorry situation reminded me of how a deterioration involving work led to the demise of the late Brian Clough and Peter Taylor's relationship in a similar fashion. After many successful years in soccer management, including two European Cup wins, constant arguments led to Taylor's retirement in 1983. Taylor returned on his own to manage Derby afterwards. After Taylor signed John Robertson (one of Clough's players) without consulting him, they never spoke again. Clough even toasted Taylor's eventual sacking, but upon Taylor's untimely death, Clough was inconsolable at the idiocy of their argument.

"All the times I could have invited him to watch Forest play," he lamented to his biographer Duncan Hamilton. I sincerely hope that one of the great journalistic partnerships does not end on the same sombre note of regret as Clough and Taylor's did.

More importantly, I hope Mr Kimmage realises the significance of the interview that he gave last week. Mr Kimmage said "I hope I feel that buzz again" regarding his vigour for sports writing, and also intimated that he is more interested in "the dancer than the dance" regarding the many sports personalities he has interviewed. I wonder is his fascination with Walsh's personality more important than the journalistic differences that led to their falling-out?

Time will tell, but only God knows how much Brian Clough would like to have the ability Paul Kimmage has to reconcile his differences with an old friend.

Luke O'Connor

Dubs' omission a real puzzle

I purchase the Sunday Independent most Sundays and usually enjoy the sports analysis by the team of journalists that cover the main sporting interests of the nation. However, I refer to the GAA article issued in last Sunday's paper by Damian Lawlor, entitled 'Five things to expect in 2014'.

I specifically refer to item five in the article 'A new style of hurling' which deals with the possibility of the likely All-Ireland contenders for 2014 emulating the Clare style of hurling that brought them to the summit in 2013.

Galway, Limerick, Cork, Kilkenny, Waterford, Offaly and Tipperary were all assessed, comparable to the Clare style of hurling and what might transpire in regard to game plans/tactics by those counties to make a significant difference to their progress in the 2014 hurling competitions.

I find it fascinating that you failed to include the second-ranked hurling team in the country, Dublin (as compiled by an rte.ie GAA website correspondent last week). Even if you don't agree with that ranking, which cannot be too far off the mark considering their success in 2013, it would seem extraordinary to omit them from such an examination of the hurling world just now.

You may have a perfectly reasonable explanation for not including the Leinster champions in your article but I find their omission highly puzzling.

Michael Sullivan

Shut door on GAA big guns

WiTh all the debate about club versus county and an overloaded fixture list, here's a suggestion. There should be no back door for any county who has won the All-Ireland in the last three years. This would make games involving those counties more interesting and increase attendances. It would also help the weaker counties which was one of the reasons for the back-door system.

R Lillis

Irish Independent

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