JOHN McGrath, Naomh Olaf’s minor manager, has praised Dublin minor captain and club mate David Byrne as a “local idol” ahead of the young full-back’s All-Ireland final outing this Sunday in Croke Park.
As for Byrne’s importance to Olaf, McGrath ran out of superlatives for the talented footballer, describing it as one of the biggest honours the club has ever received.
“It’s absolutely huge that we have a young man captaining the Dublin minors,” McGrath said. “It couldn’t get any bigger, it’s the first time anything like this has ever happened at the club.”
Despite the uniqueness of the situation the minor manager, who has devoted many years to the development of young players, believes the captaincy is completely warranted.
“It’s his athleticism, his application and his fitness that separate him from everyone else. He is a very fit lad, and he applies himself to a regime to keep himself in such exceptional shape.
“His temperament is unparallelled; he’s a big lad and he is well able to stand his ground, but you never see him getting involved in any scuffles or picking up bookings.
“Leadership skills come so naturally to him; he is constantly encouraging everyone around him and he’s certainly no prima donna.
“You’d have to give Dessie Farrell full credit for making him captain because he is not one from one of the elite teams, but his selection is certainly warranted,” said McGrath.
Byrne has been an amazing asset to the Dublin minors this year. His finger tip save in the Kerry game was highlighted and McGrath believes that the young man has been a very important part of his side’s championship run.
“Davy is the rock of that team, I think most people would agree with that and I’ve heard Dessie Farrell say it himself. He leads by example and he can see danger coming from a mile away.
“His whole game was really summed up by that finger tip save in the Kerry game – had that not happened, we mightn’t be talking about a final at all,” said the Olaf man.