Cahills walk tall as champions Brigid's secure seven Stars

Niall Scully

IT'S a Stunning Seven for St Brigid's, the newly crowned Kings of Dublin Football. The county champions have secured seven Evening Herald/Dublin Bus Dubs Stars Football awards.

It includes the classical Cahill collection -- brothers Barry and Mark, and cousin Martin.

When Brigid's won their only previous Dublin SFC title in 2003, Martin Cahill was also on board, as was his defensive colleague, Graham Norton.

Wonderful defending and a high level of industry played a central role in this season's triumph for the joint managers, Mark Byrne and Gerry McEntee.

Back in the 2003 final, the Brigid's rearguard had to contend with the highly vaunted Kilmacud attacking six-pack of Liam óg ó hEineachain, Declan Kelleher, Conor Murphy, Mick O'Keeffe, Ray Cosgrove and Paraic McDonald.

Brigid's won it 0-17 to 1-8. Last season, the Saints delivered a defensive master-class against Plunkett's in the semi-final. People wondered could they repeat the trick in this season's final. Once again, the famed Harry Norman defensive duvet was given an airing.

Like Martin Cahill and Norton, Gavin Kane also excelled at the Brigid's backdoor. His late block on Alan Brogan in the final was perhaps the crucial ingredient in the pudding.

Having such an accomplished goalkeeper behind you gives a team a confidence transfusion. Shane Supple wears the gloves with all the elegance of a snooker referee.

It is a rare sight to see Shane spill a pea from his fork. He is a goalkeeping connoisseur.


In the build-up to the final, the dream scenario was to see a one-on-one between Bernard Brogan and Supple. It happened down at the church end. BB steamed in on the left. Out rushed Shane like a fireman responding to an SOS.

He made himself big. He narrowed the target. Bernard made the best of it. He got in the strike but it went just past the post.

Games change on moments like that. Then there are the less dramatic pockets that only those inside the ring appreciate.

The lung-bursting run to give a colleague an option, or to close a window, the timely block, the brave tackle, the little word of encouragement instead of the flea in the ear.

Barry Cahill is the player's player. He was skipping over the Donnycarney turf with all the grace of a runner from Kenya. And when he got hold of the ball, he was careful with the wrapping paper.

For club and county, Barry is the million pound man. There's never any fuss about him. It's all about the team ... and the club.

On coming off the pitch after the county final, he paused for a few minutes in the November chill outside the pavilion to oblige the reporters with a few words.

But even with Sam and the Clery under the tree, it's never about him. Instead, Barry's thoughts were for all the heroes back home that keep the Russell river flowing.

Barry's brother, Mark, consistently keeps the scoreboard ticking through the placed ball or from his clever work that buys a yard.

Full-forward Ken Darcy makes a priceless contribution to the side. He'll show for the ball and even deep in traffic he'll do something positive with it, especially if the left foot is in good voice. Ken also played in the 2003 final. The brother, Declan, the Leitrim Lion and the Dashing Dub, also togged out in 2003.

Ken hit three precious points in this year's final. Plunkett's only lost by two.

In the last few years, the Navan Road team have been knocking hard on the door. Maybe that golden key is not all that far away. They leave the building with four Dubs Stars.

Shane Lyons was impressive in their formidable defence. He played with composure and intelligence.

Ross McConnell was lording it in the engine room. That was a sight for the Giller's grateful eyes.

Likewise, David Matthews always puts in an honest shift on the half-forward line. He's prepared to forage for the dirty ball.

Give good ball to Bernard Brogan and the oxo cubes begin to dance. When BB is at the wheel, the clampers are always around the next corner.

Lucan's Stephen O'Shaughnessy had a towering campaign. His left peg could set the dinner table. He reads the game so well.

His cultured Lucan colleague, Tommy Brennan, also makes the first 15. In the semi-final, Tommy scored a remarkable point. It was up at the score-board end. Out on the left, Tommy was tight to the line in front of the main stand.

He was almost sitting in the front row yet he still managed to curl the ball around the houses to land it on the chimney pot.


John Murtagh is also a celebrated score-smith. His right boot uses the same polish as Ronan O'Gara.

Parnell's run was ended by Ballymun Kickhams, who had Brigid's in trouble in the semi-final.

The Mun's Alan Hubbard completed the Dubs Stars half-back line. His compact, consistent style played a significant role in the journey of Curraner's Colts.

Two Ballymun players have got a place on the bench. Like Hubbard, Karl Connolly can inject pace and adventure from deep, while Davy Byrne toiled non-stop in the engine room.

Three Brigid's Braves have also obtained tickets to the dugout -- the gifted and exciting Sean Murray, the classy finisher that is Philly Ryan and the wholehearted John O'Loughlin, who also has the distinction of making the Dubs Stars hurling squad.

Philip Brogan is the replacement 'keeper. He made some tremendous stops this term.

All number ones have to be wary of the brilliant forward, Paul Hudson, who is likely to raise the Kiltipper roof on New Year's Day.