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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 20 November, 2019

Jamie Barron on facing Dr Crokes: 'You have to think they can be beaten'

The All-Star hurling midfielder has turned his sights to football and facing the Kerry champions in the Munster club final.

MUNSTER CLUB FINALISTS The Nire have a novel way of solving the dual headache within their club.

The Waterford champions have a sister hurling club, Fourmilewater, who made the SHC quarter-final this year. With Benji Whelan in charge of both the senior football and hurling teams, they can compete at the latter stages of both championships.

AIB GAA Senior Football Club Championship Finals Media Day Jamie Barron was at the AIB GAA Senior Football Club Championship Finals Media Day. Source: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

“It’s one parish, the area is called Ballymacarbry,” explains dual midfielder Jamie Barron. “You’ve The Nire at one side of it, and Fourmilewater is the other side, it’s all the same lads. It’s the same club.

“Before we were always having problems. One manager over the football would want training on a Wednesday and the hurling manager would be the same. It didn’t work so that’s why we got Benji in and it’s working for us.

If we have hurling in two weeks’ time we’ll hurl for the two weeks coming into that, if we’ve football we’ll stick with football. So it keeps alternating – whatever needs to be done, is done.

“He gets in a trainer every now and again. He gets in Michael Ryan who used to train Waterford, he’s in our parish. Then we’ve Jerome Stack training us in football every now and again. He works it like that to keep it fresh and keep everyone interested.”

Barron won a hurling All-Star at midfield this year but is enjoying the less pressurized environment of club football.

“It wouldn’t be as pressurised as the hurling would be, you can kind of relax and enjoy going training,” he says. “There’s a great buzz around the place as well so we’re all enjoying it. Thankfully we’re in a Munster final and we’ve a good chance I believe.

“It’s tough on the body to be honest. We’re a dual club, playing senior in both. The (county) hurlers got to the middle of August and the (Waterford) Under-21s won the All-Ireland so that’s after pushing the fixtures back totally.

Jamie Barron Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“Games and rounds called off. We’d been out maybe ten, 11 or 12 weeks in a row there at one stage. It’s all about recovery in between them games and trying to keep fresh more so than doing hard training.

It’s more mentally draining than anything, you would want an aul week or two off here or there. You’ve the colleges as well, Fitzgibbon is just around the corner. The league is over alright but it’s just training non-stop, so any break you’ll take it. Probably around Christmas we’ll have a few weeks off and recharge.”

The Nire are aiming to make history on Sunday and become the first team from Waterford to capture the provincial club football title. The face Kerry royalty in Dr Crokes, who won three straight Munster crwons between 2011 and 2013.

“Obviously, Crokes are a serious club team and have won so many Kerry and Munster titles. But if you can’t believe you’re going to go in and test them and try to beat them, you’re not in with much of a chance. We’ll give it everything we have and hopefully we’ll be there or thereabouts.

“You’d be quietly confident. You wouldn’t be going around saying ‘we’ll beat Dr Crokes’ but you have to think they can be beaten.

If you perform to your best and work to your strengths and exploit any weaknesses, you’ll be there or thereabouts.”

The Nire’s quiet confidence is entirely justified, given their relative experience at this level. This is their third Munster final in the last decade, losing to Dr Crokes in 2006 and another Kerry club, Austin Stacks, in 2014.

Jamie Barron Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Barron believes there is a dismissive attitude towards Waterford football, and there are plenty of talented footballers in the county, just most of them stick to the small ball code then they line out for the Deise.

“County hurlers like Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh, Shane Walsh, Tadhg de Búrca, and Brian O’Halloran, if they were able to just play football, then Waterford would be a lot more competitive than they have been.

“There are footballers out there. Conor Gleeson is a serious player for us and if he was down in Kerry, he’d probably be on Kerry teams. The footballers are there but it’s just a matter of getting them onto the field, that’s the problem.

We beat Carbery Rangers and I wouldn’t say we’d were shocked at all. If you looked at the betting odds for us against Carbery Rangers, I think we were 9/2 and they were 1/6. Anyone you’d talk to would be saying: ‘They have that very wrong’. That’s good for us.

“People probably are underestimating us a bit. You literally have nothing to lose when you’re not expected to win. That helps us.

“In 2014 we got to the Munster final as well, last year didn’t go so well for us and we found it hard to pick things up. This year we got back to basics, set out our stall to win the county and took it from there then.”

As for the key player on opposition, does Barron fancy picking up Colm Cooper on Sunday?

“I don’t think I’ll be near him. I don’t think the manager would trust me on him!”

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Kevin O'Brien

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