The Hunt brothers’ appearance alongside each other for Ireland last Wednesday was a rare feat, and a massive source of pride I’m sure for their family, who were in Croke Park to witness a little bit of history being made.
Stephen’s late penalty, his first international goal, wasn’t enough to save the Irish side from going down 3-2 to a Polish team that were technically terrific at times. Noel, the other of the second-half sibling double substitution (a first confirmed the redoubtable Jimmy Magee), looked busy when introduced shortly before Shane Long for another of Reading’s republicans, Kevin Doyle.
Delighted to get a run, “It’s a very proud moment for me and Stephen, and Waterford, and hopefully we can do it again in future,” said Noel after emulating David and Pierce O’Leary’s achievement in 1980.
However, never satisfied with sitting on the bench, Stephen said it might have been an honour for the Clonea pair to get on the pitch together, but personally he was disappointed not to have started. He also refuted management claims that the outcast Andy Reid had been a miserable sod around the place since being told to pack up his guitar in Germany.
“To be fair to Andy, he wasn’t sad or moping around the place. But at the same time, I’m not the manager and he picks the team,” said Stephen, who has been appointed as Reading’s new Princes Trust Football Initiative ambassador. The programme, now in its 10th year, will see the Royals’ midfielder work with disadvantaged youngsters in the Berkshire area.