Brian Barry-Murphy and the former Cork City crew are making a mark at Rochdale

Brian Barry-Murphy and the former Cork City crew are making a mark at Rochdale
Jimmy Keohane was an unsung hero with CorK City and is now playing for Rochdale. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

LAST weekend there was a video posted on Twitter of an incredible goal that was scored in England’s League One.

It started with the club’s defensive midfielder regaining possession on the edge of his own box but 40 seconds and 16 passes later the captain is slotting the ball into the opposition’s net from a few yards out.

At the time of writing the clip had amassed over 1.8 million views. The team that scored this stunning goal was Rochdale and the manager - whose style of play has since been likened to Pep Guardiola’s - that orchestrated it was Cork native Brian Barry-Murphy.

“The lads have started off like a house on fire really,” Barry-Murphy told The Score on Cork’s 96 FM.

“They have been working very, very hard since March when we started to turn around our form.

"We finished the season really strongly and that has carried on over the summer and into this season thank god. We got the results that our play has deserved I felt anyway.” 

It was the third time this season that Rochdale has scored a league goal following a passage of play with at least ten passes and only Manchester City has done so more often in England’s four tiers.

It was the first goal in a 3-0 away to Southend United. The 41-year-old has made a great start to his managerial career, which only began in March and he credits some of his success so far to what he learned while playing for Cork City.

Brian Barry-Murphy in action when he started out with Cork City. Picture: Des Barry
Brian Barry-Murphy in action when he started out with Cork City. Picture: Des Barry

“With so few games gone I think it was inevitable that there would be a few teams bunched together,” he added.

“But our performances have been of a very high standard and without focussing too much on hard luck stories we felt that our performances actually deserved more points to be honest.

“It was a big result to get that one on Saturday and to get the results that we feel our performances have deserved.

“I’m having the time of my life with it. There was the perception that I always held that the managers had to be different but I have not really implemented that, I have just tried to remain myself and continue the relationship that I had with the players.

“There may be downsides to that but it hasn’t been the case yet, I have just enjoyed working with the players on a personal level and trying to make them feel free to express themselves.

“I find that most of them are extraordinarily self-driven anyway, they want to achieve the best themselves so it’s just about harbouring an environment that they can do that.

“It seems like yesterday that I was starting out under Noel O’Mahony and the going through the managers we had.

“There is a load of stuff that I learned in those early days that still apply to me today and I always think back to the players I played against at an early age that left an imprint on my life. It was a fabulous starting point for me.” 

His Rochdale team also possesses a strong Cork connection with four former City players featuring in his squad.

“They’re amazing guys,” added Barry-Murphy.

“Jimmy Keohane and Eoghan O’Connell have experience of the UK before, Eoghan was on loan at Celtic and Jimmy was at Exeter when he was a young fella.

"But Stephen (Dooley) was at Cork City for a while and this was his first taste of English football but they are all real leaders in the dressing room.

“We also have Ryan Delaney in our squad but he hasn’t been involved in the last couple of games (and has since gone on loan) so we have a great influence of Cork fellas.

“I don’t know was that subconscious either but they give me great confidence and the Cork cockiness has prevailed in them all even though Jimmy Keohane is Kilkenny and Stephen Dooley is Coleraine.

“They all have the Cork swagger I think anyway and the English have noticed that themselves.” 

The club will have a break from the rigours of League One football in the coming week as they recently sealed their place in the third round of the English League Cup.

Their reward for reaching this stage is an away trip to Old Trafford to take on Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s Manchester United.

“Unreal,” he enthused.

“The Rochdale public have been blown away by it, that was the game that they all wanted.

“There was a lot of talk amongst ourselves about the dream cup draw and working hard in the earlier rounds to get to this point but it doesn’t often materialise.

“It is a huge boost for everyone in the town, they have had a lot of tough times but this has given them all a great lift.

“The big issue now for myself is the big Cork contingent looking for tickets and flights, Eoghan O’Connell is looking to take up the whole allocation himself.

“It will be an amazing experience but one that we can’t really prepare for until it happens because I have never played in a stadium like Old Trafford never mind managed or being in the technical area.

“I think it will be great for our guys to go and express themselves in that arena and we just want to perform the way we have been playing really.

“Our lads play with a great style and a great commitment, we are a very attacking orientated team our lads so we will be keen to show our own personalities in that game, that will be the challenge for us.”

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