Tyrone Minors of 1998 are the most successful ever as All Ireland SFC winners!
Kerry have dominated the minor scene for the past four years but when it comes to bringing All Ireland Minor football championship winning sides into a senior team to win at All Ireland Senior level, the statistics would show that Tyrone are the real Masters!
Certainly interesting then to take a look at the 2017 Tyrone Under 17 side who became the first ever winners of the All Ireland championship title in the grade.
In 2017 it was Kerry minor GAA star, David Clifford, who made incredible headlines in the past couple of months. There is no doubt that few minor players have ever had such a profound impact on an All Ireland minor football championship as what the kingdom prodigy has.
He may well be the greatest minor footballer we have seen and of course that comes on the back of scoring an astonishing 10-68 in league and championship and colleges matches for his Kerry team and school side in 2017. Some going!
Kerry also claimed an unprecedented 4-in-a-row of All Ireland minor Football championship titles in 2017, which has sparked conclusions that Kerry may very well be about to take over from Dublin in the Senior arena again very soon.
Tyrone, of course, has had a splendid record at Ulster and All Ireland Minor level. The O’Neill County is 4th overall in the All Ireland Minor FC Roll of Honour with 8 titles (1947, 1948, 1973, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2010), just behind Kerry (15), Dublin (11) and Cork (10). Tyrone also reached the All Ireland Minor FC final another 4 times – 1972, 1975, 1997, 2013.
The Red Hand County have also seen some highly impressive performers in recent times in achieving Minor Championship success with the likes of Peter Harte and Kyle Coney starring in the 2008 All Ireland Minor win and Ronan O’Neill in awesome form on route to the All Ireland Minor championship success of 2010. Conor McKenna was the undoubted star of the 2013 All Ireland Minor series as Tyrone just fell short in the race for the Tom Markham Cup.
We thus found this a very interesting topic discussed on the Balls.ie Magazine show, with respect to which Minor Football or Hurling Team has been the most successful ever, based on how many players from an actual team went on to win the All Ireland Senior Football championship.
Eamonn Mallie also tweeted in the past week “If you have any video recordings of the Tyrone Minor teams of 1997 & 1998 (banquets/homecomings/ games etc.) please contact me. We are making a film for TG4 about these teams & how they formed the backbone of the 2003 Senior All Ireland winning team. PLEASE RETWEET FAR & WIDE” – If you have anything in your archives then tweet Eamon here: https://twitter.com/EamonnMallie/status/955192109652414466
With the phenomenal success of Kilkenny particularly in both minor and senior hurling over the past 15 years, the logic was that surely the cats would have a minor team that went on to have the most players win a Senior All Ireland medal. Kerry has dominated at Senior level but actually hadn’t won an All Ireland Minor title for 20 years from 1994 until 2014 – of course then winning the last four in a row.
Interestingly, in football, there have not been a huge number of players emerging from most All Ireland minor Championship winning sides to have gone on and secured all Ireland senior medals.
No6 – The Meath team of 1990, featuring Graham Geraghty, had just 3 players in the 1990 MFC winning side who tasted All Ireland SFC success with the Royals at number 6.
No5 – Next on the list with 4 future All Ireland Senior Championship winners from their all Ireland minor winning team, was the Kerry Minor team of 1994, led by Mike Frank Russell – that Kerry Minor side come in at number 5 on the rankings list.
No4 – The Tyrone all Ireland minor winning team of 2004 then comes next on the list at number 4 on the list – with an impressive five players from that side going on to win an All Ireland Senior Championship medal. These five Tyrone players from that All Ireland MFC winning team of 2004 went on to win the All Ireland SFC title with Tyrone in 2008, under the age of 22 – Colm Cavanagh, Raymond Mulgrew, Cathal McCarron, Sean O’Neill and Jonathan Curran.
No3 – The Dublin Minor All Ireland winning team of 2012 comes next on the list at number 3 with 6 players from that side featuring as part of Dublin’s All Ireland Senior Championship winning sides over the past few seasons.
At Number 2 and Number 1 comes Tyrone!!!!
The Tyrone Minor All Ireland winning side of 2001 went on to have an amazing 8 players who tasted All Ireland Senior football championship success with the O’Neill County. That 2001 MFC winning team saw John Devine, Dermot Carlin, Joe McMahon, Peter Donnelly, Tommy McGuigan, Martin Penrose, Sean Cavanagh and Paul Quinn all go on to claim All Ireland Senior Football Championship medals with Tyrone. Sean Cavanagh of course is the only one from that group who tasted all 3 all Ireland SFC title wins with Tyrone in 2003, 2005 and 2008.
The Balls.ie panelists highlighted that Tyrone’s all Ireland Minor FC winning team are Number 1 on the list with 9 future All Ireland senior winners.
BUT we have looked at the piece and note that this should actually read an incredible 11 Players from the All Ireland Minor winning team of 1998 who went on to win an All Ireland Senior title with Tyrone – they have somehow left out Brian McGuigan and Ryan Mellon. Both players were on the bench in the 1998 MFC final v Laois but started and scored in the 2005 All Ireland SFC final and have 3 medals each. McGuigan of course would still rank as one of the best players we have seen in a Tyrone jersey.
Based on the criteria, with an awesome 11 future All Ireland Senior Football Championship winning medal winners, the Tyrone Minor team who secured the Tom Markham Cup in 1998 are thus ranked at Number 1 as the “Best Minor Football Team” ever in the GAA…
This Tyrone Minor Team of 1998 has been deemed the “Most successful minor team ever in hurling and football in the All Ireland GAA Championships”.
Pascal McConnell, Gavin Devlin, Michael McGee, Owen Mulligan, Enda McGinley, Kevin Hughes, Cormac McAnallen, Stephen O’Neill, Philip Jordan, Brian McGuigan and Ryan Mellon all won an All Ireland minor football Championship in 1998 with Tyrone and went on to secure All Ireland Senior Championship medals.
What a team that was and of course it was also managed by Mickey Harte – who also managed all 3 All Ireland Senior championship winning sides – and who is still the Tyrone manager and will be until the end of 2020.
And just to note (and you can watch it below), the panelist discussion kept referring to Ryan McMenamin being on the minor team but “Ricey” never actually played minor Football for Tyrone. Amazingly neither did Conor Gormley.
Are Ryan McMenamin and Conor Gormley the two greatest ever Tyrone Senior Football Stars never to play Minor Football for Tyrone?
Incidentally the Tyrone Minor Team of 1998 which won the All Ireland title, beating Laois in the final, in Croke Park, by 2-11 to 0-11 was:
Tyrone Minors 1998 All Ireland Final…
Team: Pascal McConnell (Newtownstewart), Gavin Devlin (Ardboe), Michael McGee (Loughmacrory), Fran Loughran (Kildress); Ciaran Meenagh (Loughmacrory), Darren O’Hanlon (Errigal Ciaran), Peter O’Neill (Gortin); Cormac McAnallen (Eglish) and Kevin Hughes (Killeeshil); Gavin Wylie (Ardboe), Martin Hughes (Clonoe), Stephen O’Neill (Clann na nGael); Aidan Lynch (Castlederg), Enda McGinley (Errigal Ciaran), Owen Mulligan (Cookstown).
Subs used: Damian Kelly (Kildress), Kevin Coary (Derrylaughan), Fergal Donnelly, Brian McGuigan (Ardboe), Philip Jordan (Moy), John McMahon, Emmet McNulty, Ryan Mellon (Moy), Ryan O’Neill (Clonoe).
Scorers: Owen Mulligan (1-4), Aidan Lynch (0-5), EndaMcGinley (1-0), Martin Hughes (0-1), Peter O’Neill (0-1).
“The results are pretty conclusive. Tyrone are absolutely phenomenal when it comes to keeping a core group of players together and achieving great things at both senior and underage level.”
In Hurling the most successful ever All Ireland Minor winning team were the Tipperary Minor Championship winners of 2006 – with 8 future All Ireland Senior Championship winners.
This is how the discussion went below as they stated: “So we’re counting down the All-Ireland winning minor teams that have produced the most amount of All-Ireland senior winners in both football and hurling history”…