Northern Ireland

GAA president to attend Jim Stynes funeral

Jim Stynes is survived by his wife and children
Image caption Jim Stynes is survived by his wife and children

GAA President Christy Cooney will be among the mourners at the state funeral of an Irish-born Australian Rules footballer next Tuesday.

Former Dublin minor GAA player Jim Stynes, 45, died at his home in Melbourne earlier this week.

The captain of the 1984 All-Ireland GAA minor football champions, Paul Clarke, will also attend the funeral.

A special Mass will also be held at Ballyroan Parish Church in Dublin next Monday.

Stynes was the first Irishman to play Australian Rules Football.

He was also the only non-Australian to win the Brownlow Medal, given to the outstanding player in the Australian National League. He died on Tuesday after suffering a long battle with cancer.

According to theHerald Sunnewspaper, his funeral will take place at St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne with large screens broadcasting the service at nearby Federation Square.

It also reported that the Melbourne Football Club and Stynes' charity, The Reach Foundation, will hold a "tribute hour" when the club plays the Western Bulldogs on 22 April.

Senior figures from the sporting and political world in Australia are expected to attend.

Stynes was diagnosed with a rare melanoma on his spine in 2009.

He is survived by his wife, Sam, and children, Matisse and Tiernan.

Stynes was a successful author and charity campaigner since his retirement from the game. He played 264 games for Melbourne and paved the way for countless other GAA players to cross-over and play Australian Rules Football.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard led a chorus of tributes from around the world, saying Stynes had left an enormous legacy.