Friday 24 November 2017

GAA star who became soccer hero at home of Cork rugby

Multi-talented sporting hero will always be remembered for shocking mighty Bayern Munich in UEFA Cup clash

Dave Barry (centre) scoring against Bayern Munich with Pat Morley
Dave Barry (centre) scoring against Bayern Munich with Pat Morley
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

OF all the great scores recorded at Cork rugby's HQ in Musgrave - now Irish Independent - Park, it's something of an Irish joke, but a very happy one, that a goal scored in a soccer match at the hallowed venue is arguably the most acclaimed of them all.

No better man than Dave Barry to appreciate the irony of that situation, and he admits to taking a wicked pleasure in winding up his rugby friends, including former Ireland and Munster star Michael Kiernan about the goal that will never be forgotten.

The date was Wednesday, September 18, 1991. The occasion was Cork City v German giants Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup first round, first leg.

Dave Barry, an all-round sportsman who had won All-Ireland medals with Cork in 1989 and 1990, was on the Cork City side who were minnows and rank outsiders compared to mighty Bayern.

Indeed, their manager, the late, great Cork soccer hero Noel O'Mahony, famously described the gulf in class between the sides as being "as wide as the Grand Canyon" before the match.

But just to back up for a moment, where did the City players hear that they had been drawn against the aristocrats of German football?

"We were in China at the time, playing in a tournament in Shanghai for two weeks," says Barry. "We played the Chinese U-21 Olympic squad, and Polish national team. Den Haag from Holland were there, and the Romanian B team won it, they were fantastic.

"We were relaxing around the swimming pool at the time and one of the directors came out to the swimming pool and told us we were after drawing Bayern Munich.

"It was fantastic for us to hear we were after getting a club like that," added Barry.

As events transpired, the China trip was to prove instrumental in tuning the City players up for the challenge of playing Bayern.

"When we came back we were absolutely flying because when you were playing in Europe in those days, the season had hardly started.

"For us to have that kind of preparation out there, training every day, the intensity of the games and everything like that was fantastic preparation for us when we came back," he said.

As for the then Musgrave Park, it was not a strange venue for the Cork players, as City had previously played friendlies against high-quality opposition from England there, including Manchester United, Spurs, and Sunderland.

Turner's Cross was out of commission, but the rugby ground did not cause any problems for the Cork City side.

Bayern found the pitch and the facilities way below the plush standard of their Munich home base, although they did not openly complain.

They got a fright when City battled superbly for a hugely unexpected 1-1 draw, with Barry's 26th minute goal the highlight. "I feinted to hit the ball with my left foot because one of the centre-backs was in front of me.

"He didn't know my left foot was only for standing on, but having said that, when I came up to him, it was just one of those instinctive things.

"He probably braced himself for a shot and I tried to get it on to my right foot. In those situations you only get one or two of those chances against opposition of that quality.

"I got the shot away and it was a fantastic feeling to see it go in.

"It was a great team performance and a great result," added Barry.

Irish Independent

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