Posts Tagged ‘ Jim Stynes ’

2012 Irish Sport Review

kbKieran Behan defied the odds to become the second ever Irish gymnast to qualify for the Olympics despite expectations that he would never walk again.

Connacht recorded their first ever victory in the Heineken Cup with a 9-8 win over Harlequins, but still finished bottom of their group.

Ireland kicked off their Six Nations campaign with a 21-23 defeat to Wales which was followed by a 42-10 victory over Italy.

Irish rugby fans were left stranded in Paris following late cancellation of France vs Ireland in the Six Nations.

Galway native Richard Donovan broke his own world record in Sydney, Australia as he ran seven marathons in the space of four days, 22 hours and four minutes.

The rescheduled Six Nations game against France ended in a 17-17 draw. The remaining fixtures were a 32-14 win over Scotland and finally a disastrous St. Patrick’s Day for the national side as they were beaten 30-9 by England.

Cork landed their third Allianz Football League Division One title in a row with a 2-10 0-11 victory over Mayo.

Irish-born Aussie Rules hall of famer Jim Stynes passed away at the age of 45 after losing his battle with cancer.

Kilkenny hammered Galway 3-26 to 0-10 to land National Hurling League Division One title.

Crusaders won the Setanta Sports Cup following a 5-4 victory on penalties against Derry City. The game was level at 2-2 after extra-time.

Katie Taylor won her fourth consecutive Amateur World Championship, beating Russian opponent Sofya Ochigava who she would later face in an historic sporting occasion.

Leinster landed the Heinken Cup after a 42-14 win over Ulster at Twickenham.

The Republic of Ireland crashed out of the Euro 2012 group stages as they failed to pick up a single point and scored just one goal. They were beaten 3-1 by Croatia, 4-0 by Spain and 2-0 by Italy.

The Airtricity League Premier Division lost another club as Monaghan United drop out due to financial reasons.

Cork, Dublin, Donegal and Mayo won their respective provincial Gaelic football titles

Tipperary, Galway and Antrim won their respective provincial Hurling titles.

Katie Taylor won gold for Ireland at the London Olympics. She recorded impressive victories over Great Britain’s Natasha Jonas and Tajikistan’s Mavzuna Chorieva before meeting Ochigava in a tightly contested Final which saw the Bray native triumph by a score of 10-8.ktJohn-Joe Nevin picked up silver while Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes won bronze in boxing at the London Olympics.

Cian O’Connor secured a bronze medal with his horse in the Individual Jumping event.

There was further success in London in the following weeks as the Irish Paralympic team returned home with a tally of 16 medals, their highest total since picking up 42 medals at the 1988 games in Seoul. They won 8 gold medals, 3 silver medals and 5 bronze medals.

jmcDonegal outshone Mayo to win their first All-Ireland title in 20 years. Jim McGuinness’ incredible year as Donegal manager did not go unnoticed abroad and he was handed a role as a performance consultant at Celtic just weeks later.

Kilkenny beat Galway in a replay of the All-Ireland Hurling Final to secure yet another title.

The Republic of Ireland avoided an embarrassing opening to their World Cup Qualifiers Group as they score two late goals to take three points away from Kazakhstan.

Drogheda United won the EA Sports Cup following a 3-1 victory over Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght Stadium.

Sligo Rovers won their first League of Ireland title since 1977 after beating fellow title contenders St. Patrick’s Athletic in a dramatic game as Mark Quigley’s 87th minute penalty proved to be the decisive goal.

Limerick were promoted to the top tier of Irish football for the first time in 19 years.

The Republic of Ireland suffered one of its heaviest ever defeats as Germany hammered them 6-1 at the Aviva Stadium. The Boys in Green respond with a 4-1 win away to the Faroe Islands days later.

dcfcDerry City were crowned as the FAI Ford Cup Champions following a 3-2 win over St. Patrick’s Athletic after extra-time.

Gaelic football loses one of its all-time greats as Kerry hero Paidi O’Se passes away aged 57.

By Alan Finn


AFL Great Jim Stynes Passes Away

It has been said “he who reigns within himself and rules his passions, desires and fears is more than a king” and this can only be applied to the true legend and hero that was the late Jim Stynes. Words such as hero and legend can be used and misconstrued with blatant abandonment in some instances but they are words that could only begin to describe the true extent of the Irish born former Australian Rules maestro.

Tributes and grief alike have flooded the airwaves, papers, Television sets and the media throughout Australia and Ireland respectively since Stynes, 45, succumbed to his battle with cancer last night at his home in Melbourne. He was surrounded by his family at the time of his death. Diagnosed in 2009 with melanoma cancer, Stynes treated his battle with cancer like he did any other challenge in his life, with respect, dignity, grit and ferocity. He saw it as just another challenge in his life and he set out to conquer it just like he did with his Australian Rules football career.

A native of Rathfarnham, Dublin and a Ballyboden St. Enda’s club man, Stynes as a young unassuming 18-year-old embarked on an adventure that was to define his life and career and shape who he was after winning an All Ireland minor medal with Dublin in 1984. He was one of the first members of ‘The Irish Experiment’ to ply his trade in Australian Rules football.

He answered an application to go for trials with Melbourne Demons in 1984 and set the wheels in motion for what would be a celebrated and illustrious career. After making his senior debut with Melbourne in 1987, he would go on to achieve the astounding record of completing 244 consecutive games for the club between 1987 until his retirement in 1998, a record which still stands today.

He reached the pinnacle of his career when he won the Brownlow medal in 1991, the highest individual accolade a player can receive in the sport. He did not rest on his laurels however, winning the Melbourne Football Club Best and Fairest award a record equalling four times, he was picked on the Melbourne Football Club Team of the Century and was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame in 2003.

He was described as Australia’s most successful sporting experiment and he succeeded and thrived where many Irish men have failed to succeed in Australia with the notable exception of Tadhg Kennelly. The Kerry man maintains he would not have had a career in the AFL if it was not for the support he received from Jim Stynes on his arrival in Sydney.

Dublin midfielder Michael Dara Mcauley,a fellow clubman at Ballyboden St. Enda’s expressed his sadness at the death of Stynes, “As fellow clubmen, county men and neighbours Jim and Brian Stynes were always idols for me growing up. I know the family well, my last contact with them was after the All Ireland when they text me to say congratulations and that they all sat down and watched the match together. Jim brought the same bravery he showed on the football pitch to his battle with cancer. He’s an inspiration to anyone playing sports or battling illness. My thoughts are with his family at this time.”

Despite his list of achievements on the field he was also noted for his achievements and humanitarian work off the field as well.

Even as a young man in Ireland, Stynes displayed his selflessness when he first was given the opportunity to play the professional sport. One of the main reasons he left for Australia so young was because of the opportunities he was being given both sporting and educational. However, he realised at the same time if he took this opportunity to be trained and educated in Australia at no expense, he could afford more opportunities to his younger siblings by no longer being a burden at home. After his retirement he could have went into coaching, media or stayed in the sport in some capacity but he chose to immerse himself in community work.

Stynes, in the only way he knew best dedicated his life to helping children when he set up the Reach Foundation in 1994 with close friend and film director Paul Currie. A non-profit foundation it was set up to help children between the ages of eight to eighteen to help them realise their full potential and express themselves in an open and encouraging environment. He wanted these young people to realise their dreams and discover their true worth and value in life.

In 2004 he established Pelican and Penguin childcare. He saw a unique opportunity to address the problems he saw in the larger childcare chains and their quality of care. Taking matters into his own hands he developed his childcare facility and developed steadily from there.

For his work in these areas Stynes received several community awards including Melbournian of the year in 2010, Order of Australia and Churchill Fellowship in 2007 and Victorian of the year in 2001 and 2003. These awards added to the trophy case from his playing career but they really paid testament to the true man that Jim Stynes was and his worth as a person.

Having being diagnosed with melanoma cancer in July 2009, the year after being appointed Melbourne Football Club president, he was initially given nine months to live. He underwent brain surgery six times and had twenty tumours removed over the course of the last three years. There were tumours repeatedly appearing both new and old throughout his battle.

In the face of adversity he thrived and even went as far as accrediting his battle with the cancer as something which made him a better person. A catalyst that made him realise what was dearest to him, “I was losing touch with the family…probably just with life. I needed to live a better life and getting cancer has led me to a much better life”, he said in an interview with an Australian newspaper a couple of years back.

He saw the cancer as an opportunity to get back to who he was or should be and re-connect with life. He never once viewed it as a negative thing and applied the same attitude to the battle as he did to his playing career. He looked on it as a challenge and one that he would, not could, overcome eventually. He was prepared to embrace any type of alternative ways of defeating the disease, illustrated in the documentary ‘Every Heart Beats True: The Jim Styne’s Story’ in 2010.

A heartbreaking, engrossing account of his voyage into the unknown, Stynes could be seen combining his conventional treatment with alternative methods. He drank his own urine citing its qualities as a multi-vitamin, he tried raw diets and a coffee enema.

It was clear that he was a man not prepared to accept that this disease could beat him. He was a man that needed to survive for his wife Sam, and two children, Matisse and Tiernan. It seemed he was a man that cherished life and it was those closest to him that were the essence of life. He saw people, regardless of creed, colour, race or anything else as the entity and key to fulfilling life. He survived for three more years because of this passion for his family, work and life.

Right up until his final days he was full of vitality. He attended the Melbourne game against the Hawthorn’s and celebrated his sons seventh birthday with him. He handled himself with dignity and displayed extreme courage in the face of adversity and will forever be remembered as a legend both on and off the pitch. He was a teacher, a philanthropist, a businessman, a youth worker and most importantly a father to his two children. He has left behind a legacy for his family and  even in the throes of his illness he showed true heroism and is an example to all. He will be afforded a state funeral, a ceremony usually only granted to dignitaries and the elite in society, a true and fitting testament to who Jim Styne’s was. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.