Ryan O’Dwyer pays tribute to former Dublin captain Stephen Hiney
Forward says Ballyboden clubman’s decision to retire is a ‘massive loss’ to Dubs
Stephen Hiney: won a National League medal in 2011 and a Leinster title (2013) during his long career with Dublin. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho
“We have known unofficially for a couple of weeks but he texted us all this morning and it was only later it was announced.
“He is a massive loss. Not only is he a loss as a player but his leadership alone was massive. Even when he was out with his cruciate he was still there, one of the first to training, chatting at every session and giving everyone a gee-up and I think that will be the biggest loss.”
Hiney, who lifted the National League trophy in 2011 – even though unable to play in the final because of a cruciate injury – and the Bob O’Keeffe Cup last year after Dublin had won a first Leinster title in 52 years, also had to battle diabetes throughout his career.
“I suppose it just shows even though there was so much going against him he still stood up and was defiant and that’s what made him who he is and not only is he a leader, I consider him a friend for life.”
O’Dwyer’s club season ended a fortnight ago when Kilmacud Crokes were eliminated in the Leinster semi-final by Kilkenny champions Ballyhale Shamrocks – who he believes will win the All-Ireland.
But his county colleagues are already back in training under new manager Ger Cunningham and his backroom team.
“2014 was disappointing for us. We feel we let ourselves down; there is no one there that can say they had a brilliant year – maybe Alan Nolan – but other players cannot say, ‘that was the best year of my career’ so I think in 2015 a lot of lads will have points to prove and under a new management the attitude should be, ‘I have to prove myself’. Even if you had a good year last year it should be that you want to prove yourself.
He can see some connection between the great season in 2013 and the tumble this year.
“I certainly think that when you’ve a good year and things are said about you in the media and by others you’re on a pedestal and waiting to be knocked down. Unfortunately, it happened us and it comes with experience. You see Kilkenny have been up on a pedestal for 15 years and it’s rare they’re knocked down.”