David Byrne is a five-in-a-row winner with Dublin, an established defender and a point scorer in their historic All-Ireland final win over Kerry last month.
Yet as far as tales from his football career go, the Naomh Olaf man reckons he’ll find it hard to top the night he partied hard with Harry Potter.
It was actor Daniel Radcliffe to be exact and it was after Byrne had captained the Dublin minors to the 2012 All-Ireland minor title that team-mates bumped into the Harry Potter star on Grafton Street. They invited the global superstar back to Byrne’s house where a party was kicking off and it went from there.
The thing was, Byrne was at home waiting for the group to arrive and didn’t realise they’d brought a special guest.
“I got a phone call from Conor Mullally and he was saying, ‘We’re with Harry Potter in a taxi and we’re coming back to your house’,” recalled Byrne. “I did not believe him in the slightest. Then the doorbell rings 15 minutes later and Mullally is looking at me going, ‘Harry Potter is right outside your house’.
"So I walked outside and he (Radcliffe) was standing in the front garden. So I invited him in. Then I went upstairs to wake my parents, they were asleep. You can imagine the look on my mother’s face when I was shaking her saying, ‘Daniel Radcliffe is downstairs’.
“I think she thought I had too many drinks. But she came downstairs and made him a cup of tea. He stayed for a good hour and a half, two hours. I had a good chat with him.”
It was a perfect way for Byrne to celebrate the All-Ireland win over Meath because he was a giant Harry Potter fan himself. “He was in the kitchen and I went up to him and said, ‘Sorry, sorry, would you mind coming in here for a second’, so I brought him into my front room,” explained Byrne.
I had my book there, the final book. And I was like, ‘Would you mind signing this for me?’ I wanted to do it away from the lads so I wouldn’t get stick for doing it. So I have the final edition Harry Potter book signed by Daniel Radcliffe. I’m pretty happy with that.
At the end of the night, the young Dubs ordered a taxi to bring Radcliffe back into the city and paid for it.
Two years later, the actor sent a letter with a €50 note attached joking that he ‘couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t honour my word’ to pay back the fare. The year ended with Byrne being called into the Dublin panel for the 2013 season though it wasn’t until 2015 that he made his Championship debut, against Longford.
He played every game in the summer of 2016 and started eight of their nine Championship games this year as Dublin made history with that five-in-a-row success. That’s 21 Championship appearances in total, six All-Irelands, five Leinster titles and four National League medals to boot. But still Byrne admits it’ll be hard to top that Harry Potter moment.
“We have a few pictures up at home, it’s a great story, probably the best story I’m ever going to have in my life. It all peaked at 18 for me!”