SEVEN clean sheets and thriving in the number one position with Cobh Ramblers.
Waterford native Seán Barron made the move from Munster Senior League side Avondale this season and he is loving life back at League of Ireland level.
With those seven clean sheets, he is happy with his personal performance, yet his main aim is to help his side reach the play-offs.
“I’ve kept seven clean sheets in 11 games which is nice personally but it’s all about getting into the play-offs really,” said Barron.
“When I transferred from Avondale my initial aim was just to break into the team and establish myself. Now I’ve managed that it’s all about making the play-offs, to be honest.
“If we do that we’d back ourselves against anyone to win. On an individual point I’d like to keep getting clean sheets, it’s a cliche but they do win games.”
Born into a sports-mad family, like many youngsters Barron dabbled in a number of sports. Soccer and GAA were his main loves, and he played senior inter-county with the Déise footballers, as well as League of Ireland underage with Cork City and Cobh.
They all brought him a lot of experience and although it wasn’t all plain sailing, heart and determination has brought him where he is today.
“My dad was practically a one man band in my local soccer club, Ardmore, so I spent pretty much every weekend at the pitch with him. My older brother Dec was a tidy player when he was younger. He was a midfielder and is seven years older than me and I suppose that’s where I had no choice but to be a keeper.
“My youngest brother Callum has suffered a similar fate now as I needed someone to train with. He’s been forced into being a goalkeeper too,” said the 26-year-old recruitment consultant.
Barron played outfield for his club team and in goal for the interleague side, lining out with Ardmore until he was 15.
“Funnily enough I actually signed for Cobh Ramblers U16s then, my brother had made a similar move when he was younger and I was looking to take a step up. The year after that I ended up signing for Cork City which was an excellent move at the time.”
He ended up playing U17, U18 and U20, and had a few trips with the first team.
“It was brilliant playing two games most weekends. It’s funny how things work out as Stuart Ashton ended up being my manager back then too.
“I was really enjoying playing for Cork but the travelling started to take its toll when I was doing my Leaving Cert in Dungarvan so I ended up moving to Waterford United.”
However, he wasn’t enjoying it so decided to leave.
“Although I made my League of Ireland debut at 18 in 2011 I didn’t play at that level again until this year.”
He parked soccer for a while and started focusing on GAA.
“I’d always played it when I was younger, again my dad was heavily involved in the GAA club and I missed out on playing a lot when I was younger because of soccer. I joined Waterford senior football team and spent four years on the panel and played a few Munster Championship games which was an excellent experience.
“I’d always planned on focusing on soccer to just take a break but my own club Ardmore started having success in hurling and we ended up winning an All-Ireland club hurling championship so that probably delayed me coming back to the League of Ireland for longer than I had planned.”
He then signed for Avondale United, which he describes as one of the best decisions he ever made.
“Winning the Intermediate Cup at the Aviva was special. In terms of great managers I played under, Ken Bruton has to be up there for that alone.
“It was the first time in years I really enjoyed football, winning helps but the confidence Ken gave me as keeper was huge for me personally.
“I played with Avondale for three seasons. I found it very difficult to leave such a great bunch of lads.”
He thought long and hard about the move to Cobh but decided to take the risk and go in after the break.
“It’s worked out well so far. We are a very young squad. I’m 26 and I’m the second eldest player in the squad which is strange.
“The main thing we have is a real togetherness whatever the result the team is always in it together, which is great to see.
“We’ve had some poor results but have bounced back well which is a real testament to the character of the group,” said Barron. “Saturday’s win against Longford was a great win so we’ve just Rovers left and let’s hope we can finish on a high.”