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Barróg bounce 'barrack into the big time

The headlines that accompanied the Féile Hurling Finals in Parnell Park of a fortnight ago were largely centred on the wonderful achievement of Ballyboden St Enda's in securing a famous double in both football and the small ball.

However, over in Blakestown Road, Naomh Barróg's strides at juvenile level in both codes were reflected in their claiming of the Division 2 title, after a hard-earned 2-9 to 2-2 win over near neighbours Raheny.


That win was just reward for the efforts being put in to promote hurling in a traditionally football-orientated club and the upward curve is a source of huge encouragement according to team mentor Dean O'Reilly.

"It was a fantastic day for the club, culminating in that win over Raheny in the final. We won the Division 3 title the previous year but had never reached the heights of Division 2 until now so in many ways it's another step up the ladder for hurling in the club," said O'Reilly.

That progression will hopefully be maintained this coming year with the Kilbarrack lads competing in Division 1 of the league and that exposure to top class hurling in the county has helped their development, both individually and collectively.

Although closer to the bottom than top of the table, O'Reilly is optimistic that their top flight status will be preserved this year and that can only help in the future, given the huge strides they have made in a relatively short period.

"After winning Féile, our main objective for the rest of the year is to avoid relegation and stay in Division 1.

"Historically, we wouldn't be viewed as a hurling club so it is great as a club to be regularly competing with teams such as Ballyboden St Enda's and Kilmacud Crokes each week.

"The under-14s are also very lucky to have John Sheils and Gerry Bannerman involved as mentors, two men who kept the flag flying for hurling in Barróg at both adult and juvenile level against the odds in the '80s and the '90s. They were both involved in setting up and playing for the first adult hurling team in the club in the '80s and their contribution has been immense," he said.

With five national schools – Bayside NS, Scoil Eoin, Gaelscoil Míde, North Bay and St Benedict's – in their catchment area, Barróg are not short of potential disciples to hurling and three of the current side have impressed sufficiently to earn spots on the Dublin North development panel.

Jason Byrne, Josh Rooney and Jason Moriarty have all benefitted from the Trojan work of O'Reilly and his fellow coaches while the introduction of Games Promotion Officer, Martin Nolan, 10 years ago cannot be underestimated when assessing their rising profile within the juvenile ranks.

All of these factors reflect the air of positivity currently emanating from Dublin 5, with O'Reilly optimistic that the future for hurling within the club is built on solid foundations.

"Both our under-15 and under-16 hurlers are competing in Division 2 and although the majority are dual players, we would actively encourage the lads to play both codes. Our under-14s are a very talented bunch of players," he concluded.

"We are working very hard to push on from here and they definitely have enough potential and ability to improve and play at a higher level."