Áine Byrne is pure class

Bray People - - SPORT -

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.

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