All-­Ireland GAA star Denis hangs up his dancing shoes

By Aideen O'Flaherty

ALL-Ireland GAA star Denis Bastick hung up his dancing shoes on Sunday after being eliminated from RTÉ’s Dancing with the Stars, while actor Johnny Ward bravely took to the stage after his father passed away over the weekend – as it was his father’s dying wish for him to carry on with the show.

Greenhills man Johnny, whose acting credits include Love/Hate and Fair City, had dedicated his dance in the previous week’s show to his father, John, and the staff in Tallaght Hospital, but his father sadly passed away on Saturday after battling stage four cancer.

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Johnny said: “It’s been a very difficult week. I’d like to thank all the staff in Tallaght Hospital and Harold’s Cross Hospice.

“As much as I enjoy competing in this competition, it comes second, and family comes first.”

Johnny took to the stage alongside his professional dance partner Emily Barker to perform a samba to Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’, which he dedicated to his late father.

Judge Brian Redmond commended Johnny for performing, saying: “The bravery that you showed coming out to perform tonight . . . I know your father would have been very proud.”

Brian then went on to critique the dance, commenting: “What is very difficult for a male dancer to do is a masculine hip action which you achieved.”

Judge Julian Benson said: “I am in love with your dancing. You gave us a no-frills samba tonight.

“I know the strength and courage it took to get on the floor – you danced for your life tonight.

“You’re a wonderful dancer, Johnny, and tonight you did a super job.”

Johnny got a score of 28 from the three impressed judges.

Glenview man Denis’s Dancing with the Stars journey ended on Sunday’s show, as he became the sixth celebrity to be eliminated from the show after putting up a strong showing in a dance-off against actress Clelia Murphy.

The sportsman performed a paso doble to ‘Carnivale de Paris’ by Dario G alongside his professional dance partner Valeria Milova, which got a warm reception from the judges.

Julian remarked: “Tonight you brought the aggression you have in the football pitch to the dance floor. Well done!”

Judge Loraine Barry said: “The storyline, the bullfight, the matador, the cape . . . I love the steps, the choreography you did. The Olé, it startled us!

“You’re getting it, but [we need] even more.”

Denis got a score of 24 from the judges, and after going head-to-head with Clelia Murphy in a dance-off, the judges decided that Denis would be the celebrity they sent home this week.

Speaking about the elimination, Denis said: “Thanks for all the support I’ve got to get me this far. I didn’t know what to expect at the start, and as the weeks went on it’s been more and more enjoyable.”

The next episode in the series will air this Sunday, March 10, at 6.30pm on RTÉ One.

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