Áine Byrne is pure class
IF you want to know what real sporting dedication is then all you have to do is take a look at Moyne’s Áine Byrne who captained her WIT college team to Giles Cup glory last weekend.
Four years of college football for Áine and her fellow Wicklow natives Paula Faulkner from Baltinglass and Aine O’Reilly from Arklow, brought them to the Giles Cup final weekend where a semi-final on Saturday against DIT was to be hopefully followed by the final on Sunday against DCU.
However, in between those two monstrously important football matches was the not insignificant matter of the 21st birthday party of her twin brothers Darragh and Padraig in Tinahely.
The plan was that all events could be attended provided there were no mishaps. Train tickets were purchased. Then WIT endured a brutally hard semi-final battle with DIT where a late goal from Wexford’s Alicia Cullen dragged the Waterford side back from two points down to a point up. Victory was clinched. The relief was immense for Áine. But so was the exhaustion.
Áine Byrne is nothing if not committed and dedicated. The passion she feels for her chosen sport is immense and all-consuming. Fearing that the trip to Wicklow might in some way jeopardise the team’s chances of victory the following day, Áine Byrne did what dedicated sportspeople do. She made her decision, contacted her family, and explained that she wouldn’t be making the journey down. It was all or nothing now. Four years of college life, four years of football, four years of friendships, four years of belief.
On Sunday afternoon at 2pm, Áine Byrne led her WIT team out to do battle with DCU and they proceeded thump the Dublin college by 4-16 to 0-8. Glory was theirs. In the speech which was captured on video and available to watch on the Wicklow People Facebook page, Áine can be heard saying to a colleague that the four years in college were the “best four years of her life”.
They were the best four years of my life,” says Áine, who took a break from canvassing for the role of Welfare Officer in WIT Student’s Union on Tuesday to have a word about the hectic weekend.
Eight or nine girls started with me four years ago and they were all out there on Sunday. I live with five of the girls and they’re on my course,” she said.
On missing the 21st party of her beloved brothers Padraig and Darragh.
“I didn’t go to the 21st. The semi-final was so tough, and I was so tired, I just couldn’t. I had the train tickets booked but I just didn’t want to have any regrets. I rang Padraig and Darragh and Mammy and Daddy and I apologised. The girls (on the WIT team) all understood about the party. They were fine with me going, but something was stopping me. If we hadn’t won that final I would have blamed myself. It is my last year in WIT,” she added.
If elected as Welfare Officer, Áine will spend another year at WIT in a full-time position. Beyond that, the Tinahely footballer is keen to push on with her club and secure another county crown and drive on for provincial honours.
Áine Byrne (right) goes up against Aisling Greene of DCU in the Giles Cup final last weekend.