Kevin Harrington is flying the Bantry football flag in the Banner 

Kevin Harrington is flying the Bantry football flag in the Banner 

Éire Óg's Daniel Goulding and former Bantry Blues defender Kevin Harrington tussle for the ball. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

FORMER Bantry Blues and Cork underage footballer Kevin Harrington played a key role in helping his new club St Joseph’s Doora Barefield achieve championship glory in Clare this season.

The experienced defender was a star member of the Doora Barefield football team who captured the county title, which ensures they will be operating in the top tier once again next season. Kevin was pleased with his contribution.

“It was a great achievement. We came down from senior two years ago, so it is great to get back up to the senior grade again.

“It is great for the young lads coming through that they can play at the highest level,” revealed the defender.

St Joseph’s Doora Barefield had not won the county title for an extended period of time.

“The club has won this county title two or three times in the past, but it is going back a few years.

“We got ourselves in a bit of a trouble midway through the county final, but we just kept playing away. We were flying it in the second half however, which is a testament to our fitness levels.

“St Joseph’s Doora Barefield are a big club. There are huge numbers playing underage. It can be tough being a dual club. I moved to Clare with my family in 2015.

“I was just living down the road from the club and I got to know a few of the boys. Here we are five years on.”

Kevin Harrington and his St Joseph's Doora Barefield teammates
Kevin Harrington and his St Joseph's Doora Barefield teammates

With no Munster club championships having been played this year due to Covid-19, Kevin will recharge the batteries over the coming months, before thoughts will turn to competing in the senior grade next year.

Kevin is looking forward to playing in the top tier of football in the Banner County.

“I can’t wait. We have some brilliant young lads coming through. I can’t wait to see how they do against the top teams in Clare.

“It won’t be easy, but hopefully we can continue to build with this young team.

“It is very hard to compare the standard of club football in both Cork and Clare. The standard of club football in Clare is strong.

“There are very good players right around the county. There are some really strong football clubs.

“I guess the lack of playing numbers is the big thing. A lot of the strong football clubs in West Clare possibly no longer have the young population which hinders their progress.”

Joy for Carthrach Keane and Kevin Harrington at U21 level in 2017. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Joy for Carthrach Keane and Kevin Harrington at U21 level in 2017. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Kevin who established his reputation as a brilliant full-back with both Bantry Blues and the various Cork underage and adult teams he played with, operated this season for his new club in a half-back role.

The modest defender was pleased with his performance in the recent county final.

“I played as a wing-back throughout the season. I was happy enough with my performance in the final.

“I got on a few balls and presented my team-mates with an option coming out of defence. In my opinion, that was my job done.”

Harrington made the most out of the national lockdown earlier this year, as it presented him with time to heal a niggling injury and ensure he was fully fit when the playing season resumed as he revealed.

“It was a strange year. 

"The break actually did me the world of good as I had a niggling injury late last year and it was still troubling me right up until May this year.

“The break allowed me time to rest it, refresh and to go again. We were fortunate to get our club championship played off. It is hard to know what is going to happen going forward unfortunately with the numbers staying steady.”

The 34-year-old initially moved to Clare through his work with the ESB.

Kevin and his family have settled into their new lifestyle with ease he said.

Former Bantry and Cork footballer Kevin Harrington, with his two children.
Former Bantry and Cork footballer Kevin Harrington, with his two children.

“We are living in Clare since Jan 2015. We are settled and very happy. There is a lovely community here. We are fortunate to be playing in such a nice part of the country to be fair.

“Getting involved with the local GAA club was great. They have made us feel very welcome. It helped me integrate into the community and meet new people.

“I am fortunate to be still playing football at such a good level. I will aim to keep playing for another few years hopefully. I will keep going until the young lads take my place which might be very soon!”

While he is now living in the Banner County, he still maintains a close eye on the fortunes of his beloved Bantry Blues with whom he enjoyed great success for both their underage and adult sides.

“I always follow how they are getting on. I follow the games and the commentary online when they are out in championship action.

“I was delighted to see the U16 team win the county title this year. That was a very positive win and a good boost.

“Hopefully those players will continue to progress. It was great to see the adult footballers escape relegation after they defeated St Nicks.

“I have great memories of playing with Bantry. All my club football memories are with the Blues.

“It was great to win the county here with Barefield, but it will be the Blues jersey I will be telling my kids about.”

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