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Cahill's glory year goes on

FRESH from doing things the hard way with Dublin, Barry Cahill has spent the majority of his post All-Ireland time taking an equally treacherous path to club glory with St Brigid's, and now enters perhaps the most unforgiving part of the year for competitive football.

Dublin, with Cahill in tow, might well have taken out Kildare, Donegal, Tyrone and Kerry en route to Sam Maguire glory, but the path of greatest resistance walked and conquered by Brigid's seems, if anything, even more prohibitive.

First Na Fianna, then Kilmacud Crokes, followed by Ballyboden, Ballymun Kickhams and, finally and most gloriously, St Oliver Plunkett's/ER were felled as Brigid's conquered the great and the good of Dublin football to claim just a second county title in their history.

"We couldn't have really picked a harder route," acknowledged Cahill. "When we beat Kerry, we had a week of celebrations after the All-Ireland final, but I was back with the club then on the following Sunday night.

"We had a week leading into the Plunkett's game and that was always going to be a tasty enough affair. But we prepared well for it. And those matches stood to us in it.

"The lads put in a brilliant defensive performance. We kept them to five points last year in the semi-final and we kept them to eight points this year in the final, so, collectively, I thought that that was a great defensive job."

And now, in Cahill's never-ending year, another crown pops up on the horizon, that of the AIB Leinster club title, beginning with Meath champions, Summerhill, in Navan on Sunday.

It's largely a new experience for Cahill, who missed out on their only previous Dublin title and subsequent Leinster quest back in 2003, due to a cruciate ligament injury suffered that summer in service with Dublin.

With that in mind, Cahill acknowledged last Sunday's win over Plunkett's and the forthcoming Leinster campaign will be "extra special", particularly given that just three of the team which beat their Navan Road neighbours -- Martin Cahill, Graham Norton and Ken Darcy -- were involved eight years ago when Brigid's last ventured beyond Dublin.

The fixture is notable for the return of Brigid's manager, Gerry McEntee, to his Meath homeland to face the club he played for for a season during his illustrious career.

"Gerry is an incredible man," praised Cahill. "He's the type of fella every club in the country would like to have. He's very good with players and organisation. The club is really in his blood. He knows the club inside and out. Our only other Dublin success, in 2003, came with him as manager, and when he came back at the start of 2010, he started off well again."

Cahill was also effusive in praise for his new midfield partner, John O'Loughlin.

"I would have known John from having played against him with UCD," he explained. "He came into the club three months ago and he has been incredible. He's the club coach. He's played hurling with the club and with the second team.

"He's down coaching kids every day. He's such an honest fella, on and off the pitch. He gives absolutely everything."


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