ALMOST four decades on, Mark Bariscale is still giving back to his beloved club Douglas Hall.
The current Junior Premier manager has held many roles across the club which started out as a schoolboy player. He went on to play junior, senior and Over 35s before entering the world of coaching, in what has proven to be a very successful role for him and one he thoroughly enjoys.
“Coaching is a huge part of my life and has been for over a decade.
“This is my second year back as junior premier manager after taking a break for two years. Prior to the break I had some very successful seasons close on 10 years, I assisted a very popular and well-known manager in Tommy Corcoran for four years winning two Premier Leagues and two cups whilst consistently going on long runs in FAI and Munster Junior Cups throughout that period.
"To say I learned a lot from Tommy would be an understatement. After my time with Tommy, I decided to give managing a go myself and I have never looked back since. I took over the First Division with the intention of bringing younger lads through.
"A good friend Jason Martin and I did this on a joint mission and very successfully won the Junior First Division before losing out in the Super Cup final 1-0 to a good Midleton side who had just finished runners-up in the Premier League.
"This gave me a lot of confidence personally but more importantly some of the lads gained good experience. The following season the club asked me to take the premier team as Tommy Corcoran was taking a well-deserved timeout.
"I did this for four seasons again with Jason and John O’Flynn came on board when Jason stepped aside. We had great success winning two Premier Leagues in a row, finishing runners-up the following year and joint third in our fourth year. We were beaten in a couple of cup finals but had great trips in national and provincial cups.”
Although he had brief spells as a player with Grangevale and Glasheen, with the latter club holding a special place in his heart, Bariscale has built up many friendships with the Douglas club and he’s hoping they can have more success in the not too distant future.
“This season has started off very slow for us, it's been very difficult to get lads back after lockdown, maybe its down to work commitments or just lads wanting to get away but were reaping the rewards of having a good academy and schoolboys section that we can rely on youth and U19 players coming through.
"The league is very competitive with the likes of Ringmahon Rangers who have already won the league cup and Everton having good starts, Avondale and Carrigaline will be competing too and I'd like to think if we could stay with these teams we might have a say in the outcome, we have nine points out of 18 which is only fair so very tough for us this year.
"A good cup run would be nice and a trip away in the FAI or Munster Junior cups would be a good experience for the younger lads.
“Success this year is to win a trophy, be competitive in the league and to bring on the younger lads into senior football. A lot of the lads are ambitious and they do see themselves playing senior with the club in the future and junior football is so important for bringing these lads through.
“It brings great satisfaction when lads who have played junior under me go on to senior football. I think all the lads should one day or another want to go on and play senior if they're willing to put the work in.
The 44-year-old father of three, who started out as a centre-forward and later in life played a huge role as a goalkeeper, states that his love for the game was passed on from his father and he hopes his coaching can help others to create great memories in their sporting careers.
“My dad, Hughie was chairman of Glasheen. If I didn't have a game myself I'd be watching Glasheen with my Dad, another football fanatic who we lost way too early back in 2013, a fellow Man United supporter we had a fabulous relationship and everything was football with the two of us and I thank him for giving me a love of the game.
"Football and sport, in general, is all about the friendships made along the way. I've met many and also I've had the pleasure of managing some wonderful lads, who I've become good friends with throughout the years, two Irish internationals come to mind in Deccie O’Connell and Danny Kelly, two terrific players.
"Also the likes of Gavin Roche, Brian Atkinson, Killian Burns and Steve Barry, tremendous players. But I could name many many more who I had the pleasure of being on the same team as. For me, that’s the best part of this beautiful game. Making lifelong friendships.”