Striker O’Flynn gives one Crusaders fan a day to remember

Crusaders striker Stephen O'Flynn kisses the Gibson Cup, on Saturday. Picture by Stephen Hamilton/Presseye
Crusaders striker Stephen O'Flynn kisses the Gibson Cup, on Saturday. Picture by Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Former Institute man Stephen O’Flynn gave one supporter a day to remember on Saturday.

The Crusaders striker presented his medal to a young fan he accidentally hit with a ball during the warm-up.

“I gave my medal away to a wee lad who I hit on the head with a ball in the warm-up. He was behind the goal and I struck him my accident,” O’Flynn said.

“He came running on at the end of the game and I gave him my medal today.

“I think the little fella is happier now, and the medal has made his day. Hopefully he isn’t too bad after being hit by the ball, and maybe the medal will make his day.

“I hope he will enjoy it.”

O’Flynn admitted Saturday’s Gibson Cup presentation was a bittersweet moment for the 33-year-old.

The striker joined Crusaders from Institute during the January transfer window and Stute went on to get relegated, while O’Flynn is now celebrating the title.

“It has been a strange season for me,” he added. I left Institute who have been relegated, and joined Crusaders who have won the title. So this is a bittersweet moment.

“I have so many mixed emotions today. I won the Championship with Institute last season, and to go one better this year with Crusaders is amazing.

I gave my medal away to a wee lad who I hit on the head with a ball in the warm-up. I think the little fella is happier now, and the medal has made his day.

Stephen O’Flynn

“Two years ago I wasn’t playing football. I had packed it in for a year after falling out of love with the game.

“I haven’t played as much as I would have liked since arriving at Crusaders in January, but the lads have been unbelievable and it was hard to get my chance.

“I just had to keep working hard and take my chance when it comes. I could have joined Linfield or Glentoran back in January, but when I spoke to Stephen (Baxter) he made me feel wanted.

“I am disappointed that Institute have been relegated. I haven’t spoken to the lads yet. It is disappointing for them, but I am confident they will come again.

“Paul Kee likes to play football the right way, and they will come back stronger.”

O’Flynn celebrates his 33rd birthday today, and he admits winning the title is the “perfect present” for him.

“Yeah, I am 33 on Monday, so this is the perfect birthday present for me,” he said.

“There are a lot of people who have been behind me. My girlfriend has been a big strength for me over the last few years.

“She has been there through thick and think, through the injuries and when I wasn’t playing football.

“So this is brilliant.

“I am looking forward to next season already. We have to push on from this. I need more games under my belt and hopefully I will get that next season.

“The club has been unbelievable. I have been at a lot of clubs, and I would say Crusaders is by far the greatest club I have been at.”