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BRIAN Clough would admire the managerial style of Mark Clohessy.

Cloughie always believed that good teams are built from the back.

Mark would share his sentiments. Mark was a top goalkeeper.

“I wouldn’t have minded playing behind our defence,” he quipped.

Mark had just returned to Dublin. With the SFAI New Balance Kennedy Cup.

Remarkably, the DDSL didn’t concede a goal in the tournament.

“We only found out after the final, game six, that we had set a new record in terms of goals conceded.

“We are all delighted, and it was a great milestone by the lads,” declared Mark.

The DDSL defeated Mayo in the final, 2-0. It was another assured offering from the Dubliners.

The captain, Sam Curtis, was at the heart of the defence. “An outstanding footballer, and an outstanding young man.

“He reads the game so well. He plays football in the right way. He put so much of himself into this success. He’s a real leader, but they are all leaders in their own way.

“I have to praise the parents for bringing up such wonderful young gentleman. They have such good manners. They are so polite. Such a marvellous group for us as a management to be working with.

“They are first-class ambassadors for the League. And each and every one of them have bright futures in the game.”

The DDSL didn’t just impress in closing the shutters. They also played fabulous football, laced with adventure. As 31 goals scored would confirm.

And they did that by playing the game the way it should be played. Getting the ball down, Picking their passes. Showing courage on the ball. And working hard to get it back.

“That’s the way we want to play. And that’s the style of football that’s synomous with the proud tradition of the DDSL.”

The attacking, free-flowing football that always brings a smile to the great Fran Ray.  

“The players like to express themselves, and they did that all week. On the biggest stage. They showed admirable character in all the matches,” adds Mark.

“You are going to come across situations when it’s difficult to break down teams. Teams getting lots of players behind the ball. But that’s when the belief in our ability sets in.

“We’ll keep getting on the ball. Making our passes. Probing for openings. Being patient.

“We say to them that as a management we will help them in every way we can. We’ll give them the tools. But once they are out there on the pitch, they have to think for themselves. And they do that brilliantly.”

Mark commends the facilities at the University of Limerick. “Superb in every way. And the pitches were even better than last year.”

He also salutes the contribution of Paddy Dempsey and all the DDSL crew. “We wanted for nothing. The best of grub, accommodation, kit, medical, everything.  The DDSL couldn’t do enough for us. The players really appreciated it.”

It was the fourth Kennedy Cup in succession for the DDSL. “And that underlines the quality in the League. The work of the clubs and the DDSL. There’s such a high standard of player in the League.”

Making the squad was an achievement in itself. And then to play such sparkling, thrilling football added so much to the deeds of these young men.

The bus left the university for home on Saturday night. “The players were tired after the week. But they were happy. And they created life-long memories.”

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