THE hunt is on to find a picture of one-time Republic of Ireland international Austin Hayes in an Ireland shirt so his 90-year-old mother can finally see her son's finest hour.
Former Southampton and Millwall forward Hayes was one of the first English-born players to turn out for the Republic when he featured against Denmark in Dublin on May 2, 1979.
Sadly, following a stint in Swedish football, Hayes passed away in 1986 after developing lung cancer, despite having never been a smoker. He was just 28.
Hayes, a Southampton player at the time, started Ireland’s 2-0 win over the Danes alongside star names such as then player-manager Johnny Giles, Liam Brady and Don Givens.
In a letter to the Irish Post, Hayes’ mother – who is from Limerick, lives in Middlesex and has only recently turned 90 – said she would “give anything to have a photo of Austin in an Irish shirt”.
The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) have no pictures of Hayes in their archive, nor do leading photography agencies in the public domain.
However, veteran English photographer Bob Thomas was present on the day of the match, as too were Cyril Byrne and Pat Cashman, who each provided images for Irish national newspapers following the Lansdowne Road encounter, which was attended by 35,000 people.
Grainy footage of the match with a French voice-over is available on YouTube, but a team photo of the XI who started against Denmark must surely have been taken on the day, at the very least.
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