Saturday 16 December 2017

Barney is a star of stage and screen

Cameras will roll for Rock on TG4 Special tonight

BARNEY Rock - the very name inspires a million memories.

A master-craftsman. Nobody struck a ball so purely.

Barney's story is on TG4's Laochra Gael tonight (8.pm). And it's repeated next Sunday on TG4 (6.30pm).

The Dublin premiere took place at The Autobahn. The place was jammers.

In the audience were Sean Shanley, John Costello, Val Andrews, Kieran Duff, Anto McCaul and former Dublin managers, Gerry McCaul and Humphrey Kelleher. Many of the present day Ballymun boys were present too.

There was lovely grub to be had. And then the programme was aired on the big screen upstairs.

It features some wonderful footage and the voices of Mick Dunne and Micheal O Hehir.


Iconic images of Heffo, the swaying Hill, spectators sheltering from the lashing rain under their newspapers, Christy Sweets, and the great Austin Finn taking his pictures.

Barney was one of 11 children. His family were steeped in Croke Park history. As a child, he never thought he'd write his own special chapter in the Dublin jersey.

His instinctive, lobbed goal in the 1983 All-Ireland final is shown. "I rehearsed that in training two weeks before," reveals Barney.

It was the day of the Twelve Apostles. "Very few teams will ever win the All-Ireland with twelve men."

His late equalising goal against Cork in the semi-final that year led to the replay in Cork.

"When we got the equaliser, the Hill went absolutely wild. Cork had another attack, but Mick Holden intercepted the ball, and it was all over.

"I don't think we ever played better than we did in Cork that day," says Barney.

Then there was the easiest goal he ever scored down at the Canal End in the 1987 National League quarter-final against Cork. The game ended in a draw. Cork refused to play extra-time, insisting that they'd miss their train!

So as they headed for the station, Barney sauntered off towards the Canal End and hit the ball to the empty net!

The programme concludes with Barney's son, Dean, in action.

Barney is proud of his achievements, but the young man would be the first to say that he has learned so much from the man in the golden boots.

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