A YOUNG boy who recently lost his mother to cancer has found another hero to look up to - in the form of Munster rugby giant Paul O’Connell.
Matty Dineen, aged eight, saw his 41-year-old mum, popular Limerick singer and fundraiser Julie-Anne, pass away after a long battle with breast cancer in December last.
But his spirits were momentarily lifted after his dad Dave wrote to Munster rugby, seeking a meeting with the rugby captain to give his two sons a boost over Christmas. He credits Noel ‘Budda’ Healy of Shannon RFC with making the meeting possible. On Saturday last, they got their wish, as Paul O’Connell walked out on the line-up with Matty by his side at the Treviso game in Thomond Park.
“He was thrilled to meet him. Paul O’Connell was always his favourite rugby player, and he was just so grounded. The boys got Munster rugby jerseys signed and were afraid to wash them in case the signatures got washed off,” he said. Both Matty and his brother Sean, 12, play with Young Munster. Members of the Munster squad were also keen supporters of the charity dance fundraisers organised by Mr Dineen and his late wife, who raised some €100,000 for breast cancer services in the Mid-West.
Another fundraising event, Strictly Come Dancing, is scheduled for this April to raise funds for Milford Hospice, where Julie-Anne passed away. “The staff were so kind. They really helped us on our journey. There are no words to describe that.”