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'He brought me everywhere, he was my idol' - Galway super sub honours his late brother

Jason Flynn on the inspiration of his late brother Paul.

JASON FLYNN BEGAN yesterday’s All-Ireland hurling final on the bench but by the final whistle he had made his mark.

Jason Flynn celebrates with the Liam McCarthy Jason Flynn lifts the Liam MacCarthy Cup. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Sprung into action in the 55th minute when Galway were holding a narrow one-point advantage, the 22-year-old’s first contribution was to fire a shot over the bar. Seven minutes later he notched his second point from play.

In a tight and tense finale, the input of Flynn and Niall Burke during the second-half passages of play was crucial to Galway finally ending their barren Liam MacCarthy Cup spell.

Jason Flynn celebrates a late score Jason Flynn celebrate his point for Galway. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

In the aftermath Flynn had a personal cause to savour a special moment at being crowned an All-Ireland champion.

12 years ago his older brother Paul achieved that feat with the Galway U21′s against Kilkenny in an All-Ireland decider.

Then in October 2008, he tragically passed away after a car accident in Loughrea while on his way home to Ballinakill in Galway.

A student Garda at the time, the 24-year-old had broken onto the Galway senior panel under Ger Loughnane. A defender with real potential, the previous February he had lined out in Croke Park for Tommy Larkins in the All-Ireland intermediate club final.

For his younger brother Jason, Paul’s memory burns brightly and the Flynn family cherished the success in Croke Park yesterday.

David McCormack with Paul Flynn Paul Flynn (left) in action in the 2005 All-Ireland U21 final. Source: INPHO

“You hurl for the crest and you hurl for what’s inside the crest,” Flynn told The42 after the game.

“We all have that special something. My own brother years ago passed away, so I have that special something inside me too.

“I’m a big family man too and I did it for my family as much as anyone. Really, to have that drive inside you just makes days like this so worthwhile.

“He (Paul) brought me everywhere, he was my idol. To see the smile on my family’s face and the tears of joy that came out of them, it’s a dream come true.

“It’s the one promise I made to him when he passed away, I’d do my best to win an All-Ireland and do my best to look up to him. Thankfully I’ve won today and I’ll carry that in future as well.”

Flynn also reflected on Tony Keady, the giant of Galway hurling who passed away after the semi-final success against Tipperary last month.

“Tony was a mentor of mine for a few years. He trained us for the Galway U21′s. Definitely a big influence on us and he was some man.

“He was an exceptional man and I’m so happy for his family and his kids. I know Shannon won there last week with the U16 (Galway camogie team), which was great.”

Margaret and Shannon Keady with Pete Finnerty Margaret and Shannon Keady with Pete Finnerty after today's game. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

When Galway lost the All-Ireland final to Kilkenny two years ago, Flynn was one of their brightest lights in defeat.

He shot 0-4 from play, including one magical first-half effort, but wound up on the losing side.

This time was a different experience in not making the starting fifteen yet he entered the action to help shape the end result.

Back in April, Flynn was the star of the show in the league final. He pounced for two second-half goals as Galway blitzed Tipperary at the Gaelic Grounds.

He continued during the Leinster campaign and started in the provincial final success against Wexford but came off during that game and was amongst the substitutes at the outset of the semi-final against Tipperary.

Yesterday he steeled himself mentally to make a mark if sprung into action and his patience was rewarded.

“After the Tipperary game, we wanted a big effort from the whole 35 on the squad. We said to ourselves that the 35 lads are going to win the All-Ireland for us in training, the aggression they bring to training.

“No matter if you’re starting or coming on, you have to bring the same attitude throughout the week. You have to be thinking as if you’re going to be playing.

Jason Flynn celebrates with Jody Canning Jason Flynn celebrates Galway's victory with Jody Canning. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“It’s awful nerve wracking. I wouldn’t be used to it. It’s awful tense, your heart would be in your mouth watching it.

“You might be able to see things and visualise how things might work. To finally get the chance then is great and it went well for me and Niall (Burke) thankfully.

“The first ball just broke for me, I turned and thank God it went over the bar, got the confidence up definitely straight away.”

At full-time there was smiles and cheers at being a key character in a landmark moment for Galway hurling.

After several days of disappointment for the county, they climbed the steps of the Hogan Stand in early September.

“It’s unbelievable,” admitted Flynn.

“It hasn’t really sunk in now to be honest. (It’s) such a feeling to finally, finally get over the line.

Jason Flynn celebrates after the game with goalkeeper James Skehill Jason Flynn celebrates after the game with James Skehill. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“The competition for places is unreal, a different lad steps up every day. Collectively we really clicked this year.

“A new management team came in last year, we trusted them and stuck with it. Thankfully it all paid off.

“This year you could really see the strides in the gameplan what we were working on and the hurling improved. I think it really came out in us this year.”

Celebrations now beckon for the county over the winter but Flynn is particularly enthused about bringing the Liam MacCarthy Cup back to where it all began..

Home is in the pocket of south-east Galway that skirts the borders of Clare and Tipperary, where the county’s former All-Ireland winning boss Cyril Farrell hails from.

“I’m so looking forward to bringing the cup to my club Tommy Larkins.

“We haven’t had anyone on the Galway panel in a long time and to finally bring it out home to my club and my family will be a dream come true absolutely.”

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Watch: Joe Canning shares touching moment with young fans after Galway victory

‘I had such time for the man’ – Michael Duignan pays emotional tribute to Tony Keady at final whistle

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