The 32-year-old was part of the Republic of Ireland squad which travelled to the Far East for the 2002 World Cup finals, but did not feature as Mick McCarthy's men came within a whisker of the quarter-finals.
He, like Shay Given, Damien Duff and Robbie Keane, who did play in Japan and South Korea, has spent the decade since aching for another opportunity to represent Ireland in a major competition.
Dunne will get his chance when Giovanni Trapattoni's men open their Euro 2012 campaign against Croatia in Poznan on Sunday evening before taking on European powerhouses Spain and Italy, and they are games he is relishing.
The Aston Villa defender said: "I can't wait. They are the biggest games of all of our lives, probably.
"We are a week away. We have been preparing now for two and a bit weeks and we are just really keen to get going.
"I am really confident about how strong we are and if things go our way as far as luck is, we can definitely give everyone a test and make it a tough challenge for everyone else in the group."
Trapattoni suffered a major scare back in February when Dunne, whose form during qualifying was exemplary, fractured his collarbone playing for Villa against former club Manchester City.
However, as the nation held its breath, he was always confident he would be back in business in time to make the plane to Poland, and he has since proved his fitness against Bosnia-Herzegovina, a Tuscan Select XI and last night, Hungary.
Dunne said: "The club told me straight away how long the process would take. It was good to get 90 minutes and it means I go in with a bit more confidence.
"I have another week's training now as well, so I will be ready when it starts."
Keane too is itching to get started with the squad having been together for more than a fortnight already.
They headed straight from the Ferenc Puskas Stadium to Budapest Airport after last night's 0-0 draw and spent their first day at their Gdynia training base close to Gdansk on Tuesday.
Keane said: "Everyone is just excited now to get to the base. It's been a long couple of weeks training, and we are nearing the end of that now and ready for the main competition.
"We look forward to settling into our camp in Poland and Sunday's game."
The Ireland party landed in Poland having extended their unbeaten run to 14 games with a hard fought draw in Hungary.
Trapattoni was less than happy with a performance which saw his side having to defend tenaciously for long periods as the Hungarians' 4-2-3-1 system caused real problems.
The Italian, who had indicated beforehand that the 11 men who started in Budapest would be 90% assured of doing so again in Poznan, admitted he may have to dispense with his tried and trusted 4-4-2 system when the Republic come up against teams fielding just one out-and-out striker.
It promises to be an interesting few days as the 73-year-old attempts to add a new string to his team's bow.
In the meantime, his players will be taking positives from a display which once again demonstrated their resilience, if not the organisation the manager wanted, with keeper Given and defender John O'Shea providing them with a boost by coming through unscathed on their return from injury.
Dunne said: "Hungary were very good, so it was a good test. It was important for us not to lose and not to get any injuries, and we came through that well.
"John O'Shea looked so good and like he had not missed anything, so it's good to know that next week, everyone is fit and raring to go."