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Brigid’s 'pretend' to raise the Barr

A TABLE-TOPPER at Tom Russell Park. Two teams at the summit in the U13 Division 1 Football League.

The previous encounter at St Anne’s was a classic. Clontarf won by a point.

At half-time on Saturday, Keith Barr’s instructions to the Brigid’s boys were clear: “Pretend you are only ahead by a point.”

At the time, they were in front by 14 points. It was their blistering start that won the day.

It’s not every side that are fortunate to have people like Mr Barr in their dug-out. He was an inspirational figure in the Dublin jersey. One of the best half-backs of them all.

And Brigid’s also have the former Dublin and Craobh hurler, Jonny McGuirk, among their management.

Tarf ’s midfielder Rory Clarke brought back the memories of Brian Mullins. Rory’s long, fair hair and intelligent use of possession mirrored the great man in his prime.

Yet the visitors didn’t see much of the ball in the opening chapters. Brigid’s began like boys leaving the classroom on the last day of school before the holidays.

Before Clontarf could blink, the hosts were 2-2 ahead. Tarf did eventually settle, and with a slice or two of luck they could easily have added to their wage packet.

But they were having trouble curbing the electric pace of the hosts. Tiernan McGlynn, Cian O’Sullivan and Michael Courtney displayed a magic blend of both speed and skill.


George Mukete and Kevin Callaghan were putting in the overtime at midfield, while at the back, Brigid’s kept the windows bolted.

Tarf ’s Cian Walsh thought he had a goal in the 15th minute, but Brigid’s right corner-back, Dave Hawkshaw, showed commendable concentration to clear the ball off the line.

Brigid’s first goal in the third minute was a Courtney cracker.

From a tight angle on the right, he rattled the sack. It was a James McCarthy special.

It was Callaghan who was in the right place to nudge in their second goal two minutes later after Clontarf ’keeper, Neil O’Hanlon, had done well to parry Jack O’Neill’s initial shot.

On 23 minutes, Jack Polion struck Tarf ’s first point. It came from a free. A minute later, however, McGlynn’s scorcher brought the third goal.

On the half-hour came number four. The influential McGlynn slipped a pass to Darragh Finn who tucked in from close range.

At half-time, Clontarf were looking at Everest (4-4 to 0-2).

But they weren’t slow about putting on the climbing boots.

Walsh’s tidy goal, seven minutes in, lifted the confidence, and, as they had done for the hour, they contested every ball and made every tackle.

The high tempo and quality football persisted till the close.

Seven minutes from time, Callaghan’s delivery let in Courtney for the fifth goal for the impressive hosts.

In his post-match team-talk, Keith Barr, praised the Super Saints.

“You should be proud of yourselves. You have beaten first-class opposition,” he said. He was right ... on both counts.

With four games left, it’s still all to play for. And Keith’s Kids, and the Tarf Troops, will keep going till the last bell. Just like he always did himself.