Rugby Digest: English slam Irish on St. Patrick’s Day


BOXING: Ulster’s Carl Frampton retained his Commonwealth super-bantamweight crown with an easy victory over Ghana’s Prosper Ankrah last weekend . . .

BOXING: Olympic bound Joe Ward claimed a gold medal and the Best Technical Boxer award at the 39th Chemistry Cup last weekend . . .

CRICKET: Ireland are through to the ICC World Twenty20 play-offs in Abu Dhabi after wins over Oman and Uganda at the start of the week . . .

SNOOKER: Stephen Lee beat Neil Robertson 4-0 in the final of the Betfair Players Tour Championship Grand Finals in Galway.

Stynes Passes
DUBLIN players, officials and fans have come together to remember dual star Jim Stynes after his untimely death at the age of just 45 in Australia.

Stynes finally lost his battle with cancer in the early hours of Tuesday morning when he died at his family home in Melbourne with wife Sam and his two young children at his side.

The Aussie Rules star – the only non-Australian to win the coveted Brownlow Medal – has been remembered as a great Gaelic footballer and a unique human being.

His charity work and his inspiration to others fighting cancer have been well chronicled since his death, while such is his stature in Australia that the governor of Victoria will honor Stynes with a state funeral.

Back home, former teammates and coaches paid tribute to the player who won an All-Ireland minor football medal with Dublin in 1984 before embarking on a highly successful Aussie Rules career.

Former Dublin footballer and fellow Ballyboden St. Enda’s clubman Paul Bealin paid his own tribute to Stynes.

Bealin said, “Jim was a massive loss to both the club and the county when he went to Australia.

“And I think it was always a burning ambition of his to come home and play for the seniors and try and win an All-Ireland but unfortunately it never happened.

“But he had carved out such a career for himself in Australia that it was almost impossible for him to walk away. He was a legend around the club and he had a great way about him, a really great smile.

“He is a massive loss and my sympathy goes out to all of his family.”
Likewise, former Ireland Compromise Rules team boss and former Down manager Pete McGrath paid tribute to Stynes whom he met on several occasions during the series in Australia.

McGrath told the Irish Sun, “For people who are unfortunate enough to be touched by cancer he showed them the positivity and courage on how to confront the disease.

“He was a man who showed the same focus, bravery and determination on the field. Those qualities help against the trauma and all the problems that life can throw up.”

Dublin County Board chairman Andy Kettle said, “He was an iconic figure, he represented Dublin and Ireland with dignity and honor in Australia he showed his continuing love of Gaelic Games through his involvement with the International Rules.”

Australians have also praised Stynes for his sporting ability and his courage in the face of cancer after his death was announced on Tuesday morning.

In a Facebook message, his wife Sam wrote, “Jim Stynes died on Tuesday the 20th of March at 8:20 a.m. Jim was pain free, dignified and peaceful. Matisse and Tiernan (his children) were present.

“Not surprisingly, in his last week of life Jim continued to defy the odds and lived his life to the fullest, attending the Melbourne vs. Hawthorn football match, his son Tiernan’s seventh birthday celebration, the MFC blazer ceremony and a casual Friday night dinner at Toplinos in his much loved suburb St. Kilda.

“In his final days Jim was immersed with insurmountable love and tenderness surrounded by his family and some close friends in the comfort of his own home.

“On behalf of Jim my heartfelt thanks to all those who have so generously cared for, guided and supported Jim throughout his challenging cancer battle.”