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Monday 26 September 2016

Dunne enjoying life in Monaco

Tommy Martin with Richard Dunne in his role as analyst for
TV3’s Champions League coverage last night. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Tommy Martin with Richard Dunne in his role as analyst for TV3’s Champions League coverage last night. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

He's still only 36 years old, looks tanned and as fit as ever, the shape of a man who could still carve out a career in the game at a decent level.

But Richard Dunne has turned his back not only on a playing career but on the trade overall, the Dubliner now living a life of leisure in his new base in Monaco.

The closest he gets to football these days is a Monday night kick-about with his pals, some fellow ex-pats who have wound up in Monaco, where Dunne has settled with his wife and two kids in the millionaires' playground of Monte Carlo - a long way from Tallaght.

The thoughts of slogging as a player in League Two, managing the Bradford City U18s, or working his way up the coaching ladder in the League of Ireland, are far from his thoughts.

Enjoyed

"I really enjoyed the career that I had, being a footballer for a long time but I was ready to stop and to do something different," says Dunne, who was back in his native city last night to work for TV3 as part of their analysis team for the Champions League tie involving his old club, Manchester City.

"Now I play football with friends every Monday, sometimes Thursdays, five-a-side, 15 minutes from the house. A couple of hours playing football and a couple of pints afterwards and that's it, because even that hurts," he joked.

"I don't have the need to continue playing. I really enjoyed it and I was really happy when I finished. I'm not crying out to go back and be part of it again - it's over.

"I'm not glad it's over, because everyone wishes they could play forever, but I've done it and it's finished and now I can just be happy and move on. I'm not chasing something that's missing in my life.

"It's very consuming, football. You think it's the be-all and end-all of everything and then when you come out of it and step away, it doesn't actually matter. It's mentally draining as much as anything. I really enjoyed it and it was everything and it was my dream to play football and to be part of it, and I was very lucky that I played it for so long," he added.

"In terms of coaching and managing,I wouldn't do it. Because I enjoy spending time with my kids and family At the moment, it's not something that appeals to me."

Dunne now enjoys his life in Monaco, the luxury of time spent with his kids after a long career which saw him spend chunks of time away on duty with club and country.

Those Monday five-a-sides keep him busy, he goes to the occasional game in La Ligue.

"I've been to see Monaco a couple of times. It's completely different way of football - the stadium is empty to start with and the football is so slow, there is nothing. No urgency."

Dunne is ticket-less for Ireland's Euro 2016 in France andjust plans to watch the games on TV.

But while he's proud of his career, the scars of Euro 2012 remain, though failure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup is a bigger sore.

"We probably didn't realise it but we found out two years later that it was our best chance as a team to make an impression on a tournament. So when you look back now, it was a big disappointment," says Dunne, regretting that missed opportunity.

"I think the quality of the teams (in Euro 2012) was outstanding. Spain and Italy were better back then than they are now and I think our chance was probably the World Cup a couple of years beforehand.

"That's when that squad of players could have performed to a better level.

"By the time 2012 came around I think we were a year or maybe two years past our best as footballers.

"You can try and do everything and give your all but when players are better than you, they're better than you and we found that out the tough way."

Yet he's upbeat about the chances for the current side in France. "I think it will be a lot better than the last one, I'd imagine," he says.

Younger

"It's a younger squad going into the tournament, they have grown as the group stages went on.

The tournament itself is coming at the right time for Ireland. If you look at the results last month, our opponents aren't shaping up too good, so we can take heart from that, and the added bonus is that three teams will get out.

"One win will do it for us and I don't think we have anyone to fear. There are four good teams in the group and we have as much a chance as anyone.

"Sweden, like ourselves, came through a play-off and Belgium went off the boil. Kevin de Bruyne has been brilliant this season but on the other hand Hazard hasn't been as good and Kompany has been injured.

"They're not flying into it on top form and there's a big chance for us," added Dunne.

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