Paul Clarke – They Know What’s Required To Push On


Dublin’s O’Byrne Cup Boss paul Clarke believes there’s more potential new blood on show for the senior ranks


Paul Clarke


Saturday night’s O’Byrne Cup Semi Final between Dublin and Meath ended up being as feisty as any previous matchups between the two rivalled counties. A penalty shoot out was probably not the nicest way to win or lose a knockout contest. But nevertheless there had to be a winner and Paul Clarke’s young Dublin charges duly delivered.

The task ahead for this group of budding Dublin football stars is an O’Byrne Cup Final clash with Westmeath this Friday night. But deep down there’s always that desire to make the impression that might put you in favour when Jim Gavin chooses his National Football League panel.

For years now we’ve seen a wealth of talent stake their claim in the Leinster pre-season competition for the boys in blue. In recent years the likes of Niall Scully and Brian Howard displayed their abilities, resulting in them breaking in the senior panel for the league and championship campaigns in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

For the third successive season Paul Clarke has taken the reigns of the Dublin team from Jim Gavin for the O’Byrne Cup. in 2017 he steered his group of young guns to win the competition. And put Scully on the route to stardom. Last year Raheny star Howard stood out from the pack, and went on to win an All Star Award at the end of a very successful first year with Jim’s panel.

What names are in Dublin’s future

And last Saturday? Penalty shootout aside, the “shadow” Dublin side gave a more than accomplished account of themselves. Andy Bunyan was rock solid in the Dublin goal, and of course pulled a huge penalty save out of the bag during the shootout. Ryan Basquel registered four wonderful scores highlighting his worth. You can’t not mention Robbie McDaid’s bursting run from Midfield to get on the end of a Sean Bugler pass to palm the ball into the back of the net. Bugler himself was impressive as were Aaron Byrne and Stephen Smith.

“A lot of our lads have played minor or U21 for Dublin and have won medals, so they know what it takes and what’s required to be a Dublin footballer,” Clarke told the Irish Daily Star.

“Now they’ve got the feeling for it, after playing in a competitive game at senior level, and they know what’s required to push on.”

“We have the best physios and doctors out with the team, we have our stats men as well working with us, so they’re learning what it’s like to be in that sort of environment. I’m hoping they’ll learn more and push on now.”