Sherry hoping young Lilywhites can be toast of Kildare once more
Published 02/04/2016 | 02:30
It's heading for years since Mark Sherry's family upped sticks from their Kildare base and moved down south to Thomastown in Kilkenny.
Sherry was in his early teens but was already in love with Gaelic football. And he struck a deal that ensured he'd continue to play his football back in Twomilehouse in Kildare.
"I moved down when I started second year in secondary school," recalled the Kildare U-21 star.
"It would have been the easy option (to play football in Kilkenny). But there's not a lot of football for me there. There wouldn't have been much of a future for me in football there."
It's well over an hour back to Twomilehouse but that dedication has paid dividends.
He lined out at centre-forward and helped his club to a junior club All-Ireland title in 2013, scoring a brace of goals in the final.
Later that same year, Sherry and Kildare captured their first Leinster minor title since 1991 as part of one of the best underage teams to emerge from the county in recent times.
Along the way to that crown, they comfortably dismissed Dublin in Parnell Park. Three years on and the sides meet in Eirgrid Leinster U-21 football decider in Navan this afternoon and Sherry believes his side can deal with the building expectation in the county.
"There was probably an expectation of us but we have great belief in ourselves," said Sherry, whose side have beaten Westmeath and Offaly on the way to this afternoon's decider.
"There have been (other) good minor teams so we all have confidence and we're mixing together. So hopefully we can do that business."
Dublin are without some of the big names that their recent U-21 teams could call on but they have moved through the gears smoothly. They were much too strong for a Laois team that looked to have the firepower to trouble them and Dessie Farrell's side are going for a fourth provincial title in five years as they look to continue Dublin football's good run at the various grades.
"They were the better team," said Dublin midfielder Andy Foley, recalling their defeat to Kildare as minors.
"They deserved to win the match. No doubt. I think if we had won we would have just been lucky, to be honest. They were a very good team."
"It was a learning curve. We don't feel inferior or better. We understand that Kildare are a very good team this year.
"They are very potent up front and are very strong lads. Like Healy and Flynn up front, who are excellent footballers.
"They have big, strong lads around the middle. We're just looking forward to a contest.
"We understand we're a young team but we like that. We're happy with that."