A well-known Irish footballer by the name of James “Jim” Stynes OAM is best known for his incredible career as a professional Australian rules football player and manager. He was also a writer, charity volunteer and philanthropist.
The eldest of six children, Jim Stynes, was born in Dublin on April 23, 1966. He spent his childhood in Rathfarnham. At age nine, he started playing Gaelic football for Ballyboden St. Endas at under-11 level. He went to Ballyroan Boys School and De La Salle College Churchtown for his secondary education. He continued to play Gaelic football while competing in rugby here. Brian and David, his younger brothers, were also college students.
Stynes featured in Dublin’s All-Ireland Minor Football Championship victory in 1984 aged eighteen. He wanted to go to college but had no money.
That same year, Stynes responded to an advertisement from the Melbourne Football Club in his neighborhood newspaper offering two scholarships to study in Victoria, Australia while playing football, with all expenses covered. The winner was Stynes.
He made his Australian Football League debut in 1987, and from that year until 1998 he appeared in a league-record 244 consecutive games. Stynes, who played as a dynamic ruckman and won the Brownlow Medal, is credited with changing the way the position is played, which he is the only non-Australian to receive.
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