Monday, 19 September 2011

In The Spotlight - Stephen Barker (Moneymore)

Yesterday at Croke Park, Stephen Cluxton sauntered forward in stoppage time to kick Dublin into a one point lead, bringing Sam back to the capital for the first time since 1995.  This year, Cluxton has put goalkeepers on the map.  It shows the important role they play and he has made it trendy to be handed the number one jersey.
This weekend’s semi-final against Swatragh may be a different level from the Kingdom and the Dubs, but Edendork native and Moneymore manager Paddy McGuckin will be aware of the value that goalkeeper Stephen Barker brings to his team.  He has been a regular fixture between the sticks and this consistency gives confidence to his defence.
Most people associate Moneymore with Paudie, Mark and Steven O’Neill.  Yes, they are the players grabbing the majority of their scores.  However, league form suggests they are not reliant on their forward line and are proving very difficult to beat. 
This weekend, the black ‘keeper jersey will be hanging on the first hook in the dressing room.  Moneymore will be a better team for having Stephen Barker there will put it on.  Going into battle you need reliable men with you. The O’Neill’s and Paddy McGuckin will be glad to have ‘Barker’ as their last line of defence. 

Swatragh will go into the game as favourites, but anything can happen over an hour and Moneymore will be well equipped to compete with Swatragh around midfield.  Will Paddy McGuckin employ a kick-out strategy to neutralise Mickey Friel?
I encountered Stephen Barker in four titanic games in the 2009 season when I was manager of Claudy.  This week I found out more about the Moneymore goalkeeper, as he stepped Into The spotlight.
Name: Stephen Barker
Nickname: Barker
Position: Goalkeeper
Club: Moneymore
Age: 30
Height: 6' 1”
Weight: 14 st
Occupation: IT
Boots/Gloves Worn: Nike.

Favourite Film: The Shawshank Redemption.

Favourite Song: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen.

Favourite Food: Spuds.

Favourite Drink: Jack Daniels.

Favourite pitch:
McCracken Park.

Best thing about playing football: Representing my local community.

Worst thing about football: Pre season training and player fit jerseys.

Pre Match Meal: Sunday Dinner.

Pre Game Superstition:
Go to

Toughest opponent:
Mickey ‘Football Manager Legend’ O'Neill, always tactically superior.

Best player played with: Paudie O'Neill.

Sporting Highlight: Still to come, hopefully soon.

Biggest Disappointment: When the Derry
CCC drove to Croke Park to relegate my club.  A sad day for the GAA in our community, a night I will never forget.

Childhood idol: Peter O'Neill.

Biggest influence in your career: Paddy ‘The Cat’ Barker.

Advice for young players: Listen to your coaches and if you find you’re not that good from an early age, just do nets!

Best trainer in the club: Paudie O'Neill.

Worst trainer in the club: Terence Donaghy.

Other Sports played: Football Manager

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