For the first time in twelve years, the Umbro Quadrangular Tournament title no longer belongs to Scotland, as the Republic of Ireland won the competition for the first time since 2001 last weekend. During a gruelling three consecutive days of football, Gerry Smith’s squad won all three of their games, scoring nine goals without conceding once. The monumental effort that is required of players and staff alike to prevail in such a demanding and intense environment was fantastic and the entire Irish set up deserve a tremendous amount of credit for the manner in which they represented their country in Limerick this week.
In the heart of the Irish defence were two of the finest Junior players in the country, and both play their football regularly in the TSDL. Paul Breen and the incomparable “Chalkie” Walsh, were the bedrock on which Ireland’s triumph was built upon. Their commanding presence in the air and on the deck, nullified Scotland in the first game, shut out Isle Of Man yesterday, and limited Northern Ireland to less than five attempts on goal today. And not only were they unbeatable at the back, the two players also showed that they were just as good up front, unbelievably scoring five of Ireland’s nine goals over the three days. They were joined in their attacking exploits by the third TSDL player in the Irish squad, Christopher Higgins, who also showed his class playing in all three games. For Walsh, winning his 80th cap today, the victory is a just reward for his amazing service to his country and the selfless leadership he has demonstrated throughout his career.
Ireland opened the weekend with a win over holders Scotland by three goals to nil, with Walsh scoring not once but twice from the penalty spot, as well as minding the house at the back. The second game against the Isle of Mann saw Walsh score again, and this time be joined on the score sheet by country and club team mate Paul Breen. The lads finished the weekend with a 100% record when they dispatched their Northern counterparts by a single goal, and again it was Tipperary made when Breen capped a man of the match performance by scoring the winner, and sending his team mate Walsh to pick up the trophy at the end of the competition. Overall this was a fine performance and shows off the Tipperary league for what it is, one of the best in the country.