GAA Football

Royals' relief at finally getting their hands on Tom Markham Cup

Meath at the end of the Electric Ireland GAA Football ll-Ireland Minor Championship final between Tyrone and Meath at Croke Park Dublin on 08-28-2021. Pic Philip Walsh.
FROM FRANCIS MOONEY IN CROKE PARK

THE final whistle signalled relief for Meath manager Cathal O Bric, then came the release of emotion as they celebrated a first All-Ireland minor title in 29 years.

The young Royals lapped it up as they proudly displayed the Markham Cup to joyous green-clad supporters on all sides of Croke Park.

“To be very honest it was relief at the final whistle because the game had gone right down to the wire,” said O Bric.

“That last quarter had moved over and back, so it was massive relief at the whistle, followed by delight and an outpouring of emotion with the coaches and the players.

“Then we went around from the Hogan Stand to Hill 16, to the Cusack stand and down to the Davin Stand the swell of support and joy was amazing.

“There were men there of 70 and 80 years of age and there were tears in their eyes because they hadn't seen an All-Ireland title come back to the county in such a long time.”

The famine continues at senior level, but this underage success reflects the work being down to invest in the future and bring back the glory days to Meath football.

“I think Meath have put structures in place to make sure these lads are getting the right coaching, getting the right input to how they develop from 14 years of age to 17 years of age,” said O Bric.

“I have been lucky that I have been able to watch these lads grow and develop over those four years and build relationships with the players themselves, with their families and with their clubs.

“I think that's the ideal scenario where we have got all these different agencies coming together. You've got good coaches in place who are obviously allowing the players to grow and develop as players in every part of their skill level and there teamwork.

“The players that we get are so dependent on their family support and club support and when all that comes together we get what we saw there today, a very cohesive unit, a team that really has grown as a unit together over the last four years to thankfully finish on top of the ladder on All-Ireland final day.”

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GAA Football