Dave Barry is Cork AUL's Legend of Football

During a soccer lull, he made hay with St Finbarr’s winning the first of his precious haul of four counties, two Munster and All-Ireland club titles between 1979 and ’85 
Dave Barry is Cork AUL's Legend of Football

Soccer Legend Award, Tom Fitzgerald, Chairperson Cork AUL presents, Dave Barry, with his award, also included is Jim Cashman, Heineken Ireland. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

FROM a very young age Dave Barry was destined to be an athlete. 

Coming from a family steeped in sporting traditions he made an impact at the beginning of what turned out to be a memorable career. 

He was walking in the footsteps of Irish international greats during his schooldays at Scoil Chríost Rí. 

As a 14-year-old the Crofton Celtic youngster represented Ireland U15s in their victories over Holland and Wales. 

He partnered Liverpool great Ronnie Whelan in the 3-2 win over the Dutch who had Ruud Gullitt chasing shadows in midfield. 

Dave Barry steers the ball away from Ken De Mange at Turner's Cross.
Dave Barry steers the ball away from Ken De Mange at Turner's Cross.

As a youth, he played with Tramore on Sunday mornings and Delanys GAA in the afternoon. 

CLASHES

Clashes were inevitable and were to become the bane of his sporting life. Life as a star player with Coláiste Chríost Rí, Tramore, Delanys and the Cork AUL was like being the red tape on the middle of the rope between tug-of-war teams. 

A game he dared not miss was the 1980 FAI Youth Cup final in which he scored a brilliant goal in the Cork side's 2-0 victory. 

A trial with Brighton followed which for him did not work out. Just as well because his senior career in dual codes would soon take flight. 

During a soccer lull, he made hay with St Finbarr’s winning the first of his precious haul of four counties, two Munster and All-Ireland club titles between 1979-’85. Apart from light campaigns in the Munster Senior League, Gaelic football held sway. 

Then with the advent of Cork City FC in 1984-’85, Dave commenced his League of Ireland career, which, unfortunately, was just one game at first as he broke a leg on his debut against Dundalk. The news of his injury went down like a lead balloon in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. 

Dave Barry with his friends at the Cork AUL Soccer awards. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Dave Barry with his friends at the Cork AUL Soccer awards. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

In 1987 Cork reached the All-Ireland final for the first time since ‘73 but Dave was dropped from the panel, owing to his desire to combine his commitment with playing for Cork City. 

RULE

Dave refused to play ball with the county board who then brought in a code of conduct (a Davy rule!) forbidding Cork players from playing certain other sports. 

By now Dave was the first name on the Cork City team sheet and in 1989 despite dwelling in the basement for long periods they contested the FAI Cup final. For Dave, it was a major disappointment to be beaten by Derry after a replay. Later that year he was on cloud nine after being awarded Man of the Match on the Cork team which defeated Mayo in the All-Ireland final. 

Dublin's Tommy Carr tracks Dave Barry of Cork in the 1989 All-Ireland football semi-final at Croke Park. Picture: INPHO
Dublin's Tommy Carr tracks Dave Barry of Cork in the 1989 All-Ireland football semi-final at Croke Park. Picture: INPHO

There was a softening of attitudes in Cork GAA circles then as even his most stringent detractors were glad of his presence the following year when Cork beat deadly rivals Meath to complete the Maguire-MacCarthy Cup double. 

For Christmas, he got a nice present – a GAA All-Star Award.

After the transitional period of the late 80s, it was clear that Cork City were on the rise. 

No need, however, to mention the name Tom McNulty to Dave or his former City comrades.  Every fan remembers him, the man who ended City’s Championship aspirations in the 1991 decider. 

Dave suffered another FAI Cup defeat in ’92, this time at the hands of Bohs on a miserable day at Landsdowne Road. 

No prize for guessing the most famous moment in Dave Barry’s illustrious sporting career; it had to be the day he outsmarted Bayern Munich’s Stefan Effenberg to give City the lead in the UEFA Cup tie at Musgrave Park which led to Dave being described by the Independent as the “GAA star who became a soccer hero at the home of Cork rugby”. 

Pity that Bayern spoiled it all by equalising. 

In the second leg, City were brilliant. They kept the game alive right to the death and only conceded twice in the closing minutes. The experience stood to City and in ’93 they made up for the disappointment of just missing out on the league two years earlier. 

After a mammoth series of play-offs, they eventually beat Shels 3-2 at the RDS to claim a first-ever title. 

Dave took over as manager of Cork City following the sacking of Rob Hindmarch in 1996. 

His finest moment as a manager was the FAI Cup triumph of 1998, with Dave following in the footsteps of his maternal grandfather Bobby Buckle and his great-grandfather Harry Buckle who both won FAI Cup medals.

As one journalist put it, “Dave Barry enjoyed the kind of career that small kids dream of, winning All-Irelands for Cork and scoring against Bayern Munich for Cork City”. 

Dave Barry is a worthy winner and a true Legend of Cork Football.

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