Local trio claim All-Ireland title

by Gazette Reporter
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St Sylvester’s Stephen Cunningham

THE masterful midfield duo of St Sylvester’s Stephen Cunningham and Naomh Mearnog’s Shane Carthy, along with Syl’s Conor Ryan, became All Ireland champions last Sunday, claiming Dublin’s first minor football championship since 1984.

In a dramatic showdown at Croke Park on Sunday, the minors faced their fiercest inter-county rivals, Meath, who they had already beaten in the final of the Leinster championship, by a whopping twelve point deficit.

However, the All-Ireland final proved to be a tighter affair, with a penalty giving Meath an edge before Dublin tagged on more points to break the spirit of the Royals, who couldn’t match the Boys in Blue in the scoring charts, eventually winning the final 0-14 to 1-5.

Carthy was in immense form on the day and his free kick technique was admired by the masses as he put two over to help his side to Tom Markham glory. He put another one over from open play and his tally of 0-13 from the championship has been a big help in the side’s journey.

Stephen Cunningham operated in a more defensive position than his Sylvester’s partner, but he was just as important breaking down opposition play and distributing diligently to the forward lines throughout the championship campaign.

It added to what is becoming an amazing 2012 for St Sylvester’s as their hurlers claimed senior status for the first time, adding the Dublin championship title to their list of plaudits with a 2-10 to 1-11 win over Round Tower, Clondalkin in Parnell Park last Saturday.

At the helm was former Dublin boss Tommy Naughton and he told GazetteSport it was no more than the club deserved as they carried the momentum through from their Leinster junior title win of two years ago.

He said of the win: “The lads deserved it considering the effort they put in. They’ve really been fantastic. They kept going and showed unbelievable courage and will to win.

“The club can certainly support a senior team with all the underage players coming through and the support they have here. It’s fantastic.

“I’m not surprised they have moved up so quickly. It would be different if they didn’t have the hurlers but they are up there because they have them and they’ll stay up there [in senior] because of that and the young lads coming up.”

The title was won ahead of a Tower’s side managed by one of Naughton’s former Dublin players – Emmett Carroll – in his first year of management.

He paid tribute to what he has achieved: “Emmett’s done a fantastic job and it’s now up to both clubs to make what they can of it. The whole thing now is to get out of division three of the league but that’s another day’s work. We’re up playing senior now and that’s where we want to be.”

It is another piece of silverware for the club following the ladies’ IFC success while the senior footballers are still in the mix for AFL1 and senior championship glory.

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