Australia said goodbye to sporting legend Jim Stynes on Tuesday as his family prepared to take his ashes home to Dublin.
The 45-year-old husband, father and Aussie Rules icon was given an emotional farewell by a crowd of 16,000 at a state funeral in Melbourne.
Former gaelic footballer Stynes died last week after finally losing his brave battle with cancer.
His coffin was clapped out of St Paul’s Cathedral in the Victoria state capital as thousands watched on giant screens across the road in Federation Square.
Wife Sam, brother Brian and Melbourne Demons team-mate Garry Lyons paid their own tributes to Stynes at a moving ceremony.
“I wake up hoping that if I click my heels together three times, I will discover Jim’s death was all a bad dream,” said Sam Stynes who then recited a poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye which she said ‘reflected Stynes’ wishes for her and their children’.
Younger brother Brian, an All-Ireland winner with Dublin, said: “Jim leaves a 6ft 7 inch gap in our lives that will never be filled.
“Jim has always been my inspiration. I have lost my best friend.”
Lyons, a team-mate at the Demons and a close friend, told the congregation that Stynes ‘would have loved’ the large crowd present.
“Big Jimmy would have loved this. He thrived on a big crowd,” said Lyons.
Jim Stynes’ coffin was draped in the Australian flag while medals from his playing career were also displayed.
Melbourne players formed a guard of honour as the coffin left the cathedral.
Jim Stynes’ remains are to be brought back to Dublin and will be scattered in the Dublin mountains as was his wish.
Source: Irish Indepedent
Australian 10 News report on Jim Styne's funeral: