The Leeside Legends series: Dave Barry excelled as a soccer star and footballer

The Leeside Legends series: Dave Barry excelled as a soccer star and footballer
Davie Barry was one of the best Cork City players of all time, as well as being a brilliant footballer with the Barrs and Cork. 

DAVE BARRY thrilled Cork’s sporting public with his silky skills on the soccer and GAA fields in many corners of this city, county and country.

Barry hails from Pouladuff and like many fellow southsiders began his sporting career playing Gaelic football at Coláiste Chríost Rí.

Born in 1961 Barry remarkably played hurling and football on the opposite side of the city.

“My dad’s brother Mick was a staunch member of Delanys and he signed a group of us from Pouladuff to play with the club. Our biggest success with Delanys was winning the Féile B U14 hurling championship, that was a huge achievement at that time,” said Dave.

In 1977 Barry moved back across the city to play with St Finbarr’s as he made his debut for Cork as a raw 18-year-old in a Munster championship semi-final against Limerick in 1980.

However, Dave experienced disappointment when Cork were defeated by Kerry at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Following his debut with the Senior team Dave went on to win two All-Ireland U21 medals with the Rebel County.

Barry also won four Cork County Senior football championships and two All-Ireland Senior club medals with St Finbarr’s.

Barry’s League of Ireland career began in 1984 on a day he will never forget.

“I made my debut against Dundalk at Oriel Park and I broke my leg which was a terrible experience.”

Barry was forced to sit out the Barrs' senior county final defeat by Imokilly four weeks later.

Dave won his first Munster football championship with Cork in 1983 when they beat their old rivals Kerry but Cork were subsequently defeated in the All-Ireland semi-final by Dublin.

Barry was faced with a major dilemma in 1987 having to choose between soccer or Gaelic football.

Dave opted for soccer and wasn’t considered for the Cork senior football team and Cork reached their first All-Ireland final since the triumph of 1973, but they lost out Meath in the decider.

Cork’s Dave Barry solos as he takes on the Dublin defence in the 1989 All-Ireland football semi-final at Croke Park. 	 Picture: INPHO
Cork’s Dave Barry solos as he takes on the Dublin defence in the 1989 All-Ireland football semi-final at Croke Park. Picture: INPHO

Ironically, Barry lined out for Cork City in a League of Ireland match against Bray Wanderers in the Carlisle Grounds on the same day as Cork contested the final.

“The code of conduct as it was known was thrown out the following year and Dinny Allen and I were brought back into the Cork football panel in 1988 by Billy Morgan.”

Cork reached another All-Ireland football final in 1988 but were again defeated by their arch-rivals Meath.

The following year was a special one for Barry as Cork defeated Mayo to win the All-Ireland football title and he also picked up the Man of the Match award.

Dave also picked up a National Football League medal in 1989 but was on the losing side in the FAI Cup final when Cork City went down to Derry City following a replay.

The double was achieved by the Cork senior hurlers and footballers the following year though again Dave tasted disappointment on the soccer front.

Cork City were pipped to the league title by Dundalk on the final day of the season at Turner’s Cross. The Leesiders only needed a point to clinch the title but a Tom McNulty goal gave Dundalk the spoils.

In 1991, Barry brought an end to his Gaelic football career but continued to play soccer and he finally tasted success in 1992 when City won the League title under the guidance of Noel O’Mahony.

Dave also made his mark on the European stage scoring in a memorable 1-1 draw with West German giants Bayern Munich and steering City to a 1-0 win over Swedish side Gothenburg.

In 1996, he was appointed manager of Cork City following the sacking of Rob Hindmarch. His motivational skills were certainly needed as he helped his side avoid relegation.

There was more joy for Dave Barry in the 1997/98 season when he led City to FAI Cup triumph following a win over Shelbourne. The following season Cork City finished runners-up in the league behind St Patrick’s Athletic who were then coached by Pat Dolan.

In 2000, Dave Barry brought the curtain down on his managerial career that ended a truly great sporting career.


Dave Barry played with Delanys on Cork’s northside up to the age of 17 winning a U14 Féile hurling championship with the club.

He transferred to St Finbarr's and won four senior football championships and two All-Irelands.

Barry won two All-Ireland U21 medals with Cork as well as two senior All-Ireland titles in 1989 and 1990. He was voted Man of the Match in '89.

On the soccer front, he starred as a player and then led Cork City to an FAI Cup triumph in '98 as manager before stepping down in 2000.

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