Wednesday 13 November 2019

where are they now?


(Former Kerry footballer)

Having three or four All-Ireland medals in Kerry is commonplace, but having ten is pretty special. Veteran footballer Marina Barry has played in ten finals and won them all.

And the Kerry woman's achievements don't stop there. She has also earned five All Stars and at 46 is still playing club football. Her club Austin Stacks in Tralee won the junior B championship this year and for the senior competition they amalgamated with Abbeydorney. Barry played full-forward and just last weekend they lost the county final to Laune Rangers by a goal.

Barry started playing football in the late 1970s when she was 14. Austin Stacks set up a senior team in the club and she signed up straight away. Although she was one of the youngest players in it she took to it immediately and it wasn't long before she was called into the county set-up. She won her first All-Ireland title in 1982 and from there went on to to win nine in a row.

Barry and her Kerry team were one of the first ladies teams to get the opportunity to play in the bigger stadiums around the country. In 1983, they played in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and in 1986 they won an All-Ireland final in Croke Park and Barry got player of the match.

"In many ways we were like the suffragettes of football trying to get recognition," says Barry. "Getting to play in the big stadiums was a great achievement especially when you are young and you want to emulate the likes of Mikey Sheehy and Ger Power."

In those days Kerry and Waterford were the top two teams in the country and the Munster finals were always great battles. Waterford ended Kerry's bid for a ten-in-a-row in 1991 but two years later Barry earned her tenth title. Waterford won the All-Ireland again in 1994 and 1995 and after that the Kerry star decided to call it a day.

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Barry was based in Dublin at the time and the travelling up and down became too much so she joined Portobello in Dublin. They reached an All-Ireland club final but were beaten by Waterford side Ballymacarbry.

This year she sustained a calf injury that kept her out of action for three weeks but aside from that Barry has stayed injury-free. She surfs and cycles to maintain a strong core and as of now has no intention of retiring.

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