The death of Aussie Rules and former Dublin footballer Jim Stynes resulted in a State funeral being held in his honour last week as thousands turned out to pay their final respects to a legend of the game.
It was probably the case that we here in Ireland didn’t fully appreciate the status the former All-Ireland minor winning player had achieved following his departure down under to pursue the professional game. But, nobody could be left in any doubt as to his popularity and the esteem in which he was held, following the huge outpouring of sympathy at this passing at such a young age - just 45.
Thurles can take great pride in Jim Stynes achievements with his mother - Mrs Davy -having hailed from Kickham Street. Indeed, Jim and his siblings paid many a visit to the Cathedral Town during the summers of his youth, and as a gangly 6 feet 7 inch youngster, he is recalled being able to stand with his head above the water in the deep end of the old Thurles Swimming Pool - a fact recalled very clearly by former pool Manager and lifeguard, Noel Gaynor. Jim loved coming to Thurles and spent many hours playing the young lads of the Pike with football and hurling being particularly popular amongst them.
Jim Stynes relations, the Davy’s and Priors, mourn the loss of a legend in the eyes of many. But, to them, he was Jim - an honest, courageous, charitable gentleman who fought his battle with cancer with the same qualities he played the game of Gaelic football and Aussie Rules.
Ar dheis De go raibh a Anam dilis.