RTE’s Dancing With The Stars is now in full swing and one of the competitors has very strong Laois connections.
Former Dublin footballer Denis Bastick is through to week 4 and he has designs on making a big impression.
Denis Bastick’s mother and father moved from Laois to Dublin in the 1970s for work. His father, also Denis, hails from Coolrain and his mother Imelda (formerly Cuddy) is from Aughduff, Camross.
Speaking to LaoisToday about his now weekly appearances on RTE One, Bastick is hoping the people of Laois will get behind him.
He said: “My dancing isn’t great anyway so I’ll need plenty of votes from Laois and all over if I am going to remain in the competition.”
Despite being best known for his exploits on the field, Bastick is no stranger to reality TV.
In 2012, Bastick appeared on RTÉ reality show Franc’s DIY Brides where he married his fiancé Jody Hannon at Carton House in December 2011.
Bastick said: “Since I retired in 2017, there has been something of a void there if I’m honest.
“So when I got the phone call out of the blue from RTE one day, I said yes immediately.
“I thought that I may never get a chance like this again. To work with the dancers here is incredible – they are all so remarkably talented.”
Despite being born in Dublin, Denis has fond memories of spending every weekend as a child in Laois.
He said: “We came down every weekend and I remember being bundled into a car with my brother Wayne and sister Wendy to drive down.
“It was great for us to get out of the city and experience what it was like to live in a different part of the country. We made some great memories.”
Through the Laois connections on both sides, Denis was eligible to play for the O’Moore county, and he went for trials for Laois in 2004 during the Micko era.
The trials didn’t work out and Denis made his senior championship debut with the Dubs against Meath in 2009.
However during a tenure that included five senior All-Ireland titles, one junior All-Ireland title, 11 Leinster SFC titles and four national league titles – we don’t think Denis is too upset about the Laois appearance that never came to be.
Denis still has a lot of connections to Laois. His brother Wayne and sister Wendy were both brought up in Dublin but now live with their families in Coolrain.
Indeed, Denis was famously seen celebrating Laois’s last Leinster final win in 2003.
Denis’s cousin Jim is involved with the Emo senior football team, and Denis says that that Emo and his own club, Templeogue Synge Street, have formed a good bond in recent years.
“We’ve played Emo in a few matches down through years and there’s a nice buzz around them,” said Denis.
Denis also recently brought the Sam Maguire back to the pupils in Camross NS and could be seen running up and down the sideline cheering them on at Cumann na mBunscol finals
As for who Denis reckons will win the show and how far he would like to go, Bastick is definite.
He said: “The way the results are done, 50% from the judges and 50% from the public vote, makes it difficult to call.
“Obviously Johnny and Cliona look like the best dancers so far but there is a long way to go yet and I don’t think anyone who have expected Ailish O’Carroll to be the first to go out given how popular Mrs Brown’s Boys is.
“So I’d like to target getting to the semi finals and see what happens then.”
Best of luck to Denis!