European 'legend' leaves Hunt in Dalymount shade
IF IT had been anybody else, Kevin Hunt may well have been truly offended that he was upstaged at his own testimonial, but the former Bohs midfielder has lived here long enough to know there is one man bigger than everything else.
Bigger than Hunt, bigger than Bohs, even bigger than Boyzone. That man is Irish Eurovision hero Johnny Logan, who turned up at Dalymount Park on Sunday to pay tribute to his fellow legend, Hunt.
In one of the most surreal half-time shows ever to grace an Eircom League ground, Logan strolled onto the pitch to belt out, unaccompanied by any backing music, his biggest hit and Dalymount favourite 'Hold me now'.
Every one of the 3,000 fans sang along, with Logan proclaiming midway through, "this is the weirdest gig I've ever played", obviously forgetting about the Eurovision.
The Gypsies' connection with Johnny Logan is said to have originated in their 4-0 away defeat to Rosenborg in 2003, when one fan, who had sang the hit in a Norwegian pub the night before, began one of the club's most memorable chants after the fourth goal.
"It was a great story," said Hunt of Logan's appearance after his testimonial, "He was on a TV show and one of the committee members chased him down and he was an absolute gentleman to take the time out to come down."
The superb video of Logan's Dalymount performance can be found on YouTube.
There's no doubt it was their week. Pat Fenlon's men came home from Drogheda last Friday mathematically ensured of the title, before they continued celebrations at the aforementioned testimonial of a club legend on Sunday.
With an EGM tomorrow and a crucial court case regarding the sale of Dalymount Park on Friday, however, it remains to be seen what state the club will be in at this week's end.
A few years ago, not many people had ever heard of the word but after Drogheda United followed Cork City into the darkness of court-appointed running of their club here's hoping we'll never have to hear of it again.
Down Memory Lane
Having played for 10 different clubs in his professional career, some would label Mick Byrne as a journeyman.
But one would be hard pressed to find another journeyman who holds in their possession four league titles and three cup medals, like Byrne, whose finest days were with the great Shamrock Rovers team of the mid 1980s.
During that glorious period, he helped the Hoops to three consecutive League of Ireland/FAI cup doubles between 1984 and 1987. The latter year, however, was Byrne's most successful on a personal note, as he added to his two trophies a PFAI Player of the Year and a SWAI Personality of the Year award.
In that spell, he had scored almost exactly a goal every other game with 72 in 146 appearances and he was then snapped up by Dutch side FC Den Haag after talks with St Etienne and Feyenoord proved unsuccessful.
A three year spell at Huddersfield Town would prove much more successful than his time in Holland, however, and he later moved back to the Hoops, then to Sligo before spells at Shelbourne, Monaghan United, St James' Gate, Athlone Town and a league-winning period at Dundalk under Dermot Keely.
Where is he now?
Byrne went on to manage St James' Gate and Shamrock Rovers in the 1990's but neither were very successful and he now coaches the prolific strike force at St Patrick's Athletic.
Although a lifelong St Pat's fan, having grown up nearby, he still holds an affinity for Shamrock Rovers and outside of football, Byrne runs his own flooring business, MJ flooring.
The wheels have come off the wagon in a fashion that Kevin Keegan and Newcastle would be proud of.
Last week, we weren't even close as the results were pretty much the opposite of what we predicted.
This week, take Bohs to beat Derry City in their first game back at Dalymount as champions, Cork to beat a demoralised Drogheda down by the Lee and Finn Harps and Sligo Rovers to draw at 12/1. Or don't, as the case may be.