Ireland's legendary physio Mick Byrne recalls his GAA adventures with Leitrim and Galway

One of Jack Charlton's key backroom team chatted to Team 33's Raf Diallo at the Aviva Stadium

BY Raf Diallo 15:45 Tuesday 26 April 2016, 15:45 26 Apr 2016

Pictured today: Former kit-man Charlie O'Leary and former physio Mick Byrne ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

From Euro 88, all the way to World Cup 2002, Mick Byrne fulfilled a number of vital roles behind the scenes for Ireland at major tournaments.

The physio was part of both Jack Charlton and Mick McCarthy's backroom teams and enjoyed close relationships with the players.

But Byrne also played a part in some GAA successes with the Galway footballers and my own Leitrim during the 1990s.

He and former Ireland kitman Charlie O'Leary were at the #PowerofGreen storytellers event at Aviva Stadium this afternoon to share stories about their adventures with the Irish team, and Byrne also looked back on his time in GAA.

"It was another great journey for me. It was John O'Mahony who asked me. He was with Leitrim at the time," Byrne recalled.

"He had a couple of injuries and he needed to do some stuff with them. A friend of John's came to me and said 'John O'Mahony wants you'. So he picked me up, brought me to the game, went into the dressing room and looked after the players and they went on to win the Connacht for the first time, which was huge to Leitrim, a small county with wonderful people.

Galway Manager John O'Mahony and Physio Mick Byrne celebrate after the 1998 Connacht final ©INPHO/Keith Heneghan

"After that then, we got to the semi-finals against Dublin in Croke Park but Dublin beat them. But it was a great time for Leitrim. And it was a great time for me because it was with John and we continued that great success on with Galway. We qualified in 1998 for the All-Ireland, which was absolutely unreal. I've a Gaelic football background, hurling and football, so it was just mega for me to walk out at Croke Park on All-Ireland day. I didn't do it as a player but this Galway [success], I'll never forget it. It was absolutely fantastic."  

We'll be playing the full joint-chat with Byrne and O'Leary on Team 33 next month as part of our Euro 2016 coverage, in which Byrne looks back on the emotions of the day as Ireland beat England at Euro 88 and O'Leary talked about the 1994 World Cup and befriending Italy World Cup winner Marco Tardelli long before he became Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland assistant manager.

Plus, we'll also play out interviews with Jason McAteer and Ray Houghton from the event.

Irish football legends Jason McAteer and Ray Houghton were in Dublin today to share their #PowerOfGreen moments from their days in the green jersey. Joining them were former kit man for the Boys in Green, Charlie O'Leary and former Irish team physio, Mick Byrne.

They were speaking at the launch of SSE Airtricity's summer football campaign at Aviva Stadium. All customers who switch to SSE Airtricity will now receive the new official Ireland football jersey free, as well as 15% off their home energy.

The legends and special guests spoke about the power of the green jersey and the pride it evokes. They shared their favourite memories of wearing it, from McAteer's famous strike against Holland in '01, to Houghton putting the ball in the English net in '88 and breaking Italian hearts in '92.

With SSE AirtricityÕs Ireland jersey top offer, new memories will be made in 2016 that will last a lifetime. Fans can get theirs free by switching to SSE Airtricity today. For more information on how to switch, please visit


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