Tom Markham Cup
St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh man Niall Walsh lifts the Tom Markham Cup in Croke Park last Sunday. Picture: Fergus McNally

ST OLIVER Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh’s Niall Walsh hailed the Dublin minors All-Ireland football victory last Sunday in Croke Park as “unbelievable”.

He was one of a number of local faces in the team as Eric Lowndes, of St Peregrine’s, finally got to taste glory in his fourth national final while Castleknock’s Tom Quinn was also part of the panel that won the county’s first Tom Markham Cup since 1984, seeing off their fiercest of rivals, Meath, 0-14 to 1-5.

Speaking after the game, Walsh shared his delight with the amazing achievement.

“It’s unbelievable, we’ve worked hard all year. I just can’t believe it’s all over. We have done what we’ve set out to do.

“I’d say we could’ve gone farther ahead but Meath came out in the second half and really came at us, but we were prepared for it. We knew that if we could drive on we would be alright in the second half if we just stuck to the game plan.

“It was a nervous moment after they scored the penalty, but we drove on and we put a few more points on the board. It was an easier game after that because Meath lost a bit of spirit after we grabbed a few more scores.

“We were well aware that it was going to be a different game than the Leinster final. Meath had two great games in the lead-up to the final.”

Lowndes was in fantastic form in the game and linked up with his Navan Road neighbour Walsh to supply him with the first point that Dublin notched on the day.

The Peregrine’s halfback was unlucky not to be named man of the match on the day with a fantastic display that saw him flying up the pitch from the backlines to distribute the ball to the forward line. In the first half, Lowndes took a fantastic score when he broke up the left hand side of the pitch before hitting the ball cleanly with his left peg, sending it flying over the Royal’s bar, and he kept battling in the second half to the point where the Meath team start putting hard tackles in on the Blakestown talent.

The dual star will be in action this weekend again when he takes on Tipperary in the All-Ireland minor hurling final replay, where the Dublin side will go in as the underdogs, but will be full of confidence after a fantastic initial final in which St Brigid’s Paul Winters put over a free that restored parity between the teams.

Walsh had a terrific game in the half forward line, playing a calm and collected match that saw him take two fine points to help the Dublin side to the prestigious All-Ireland title.