This current panel of Corofin players and their respective management teams over the past few years deserve immense credit for having the commitment, desire, energy and ability to annex four consecutive senior county titles. To have done so, is a tremendous feat.
The point has been made to me since last weekend that Tuam Stars and Ballinasloe have accomplished the same, and better, in the past. However, that was then, and this is now.
A massive amount has changed as regards player’s lifestyles, college and work-commitments and Irish society at large.
Comparisons are odious at the best of times, but comparing the commitment required to represent your club at the top level for a decade or more in the 1950s and in the 2000s, is like comparing chalk and cheese.
Things have changed drastically in the past 60 or 70 years. And not all for the better either.
Regardless of one’s views on that, some of the older veterans on this Corofin squad, such as team captain on Sunday, Alan Burke, Ciaran McGrath, and record-breaking 11-times senior medallist Kieran Fitzgerald, have been outstanding servants to their club over the past decade and a half.
Eleven senior medals is some haul for any one player. Considering his first senior county medal was as a young substitute in October 1998 – 18 years ago - the Belclare man has enjoyed serious longevity and huge success in his club career.
He has kept himself in superb physical shape and s an example to all young sports people in all codes in the county on what it takes to stay at the top of your sport for almost 20 years.
Salthill-Knocknacarra put it up
To their credit, a young-enough Salthill-Knocknacarra side made a real fight of things at Pearse Stadium before they went down by five points, 0-16 to 0-11.
Corofin looked ropey enough midway through the second half and it would have been a very interesting last 10 or 15 minutes if Val Daly’s side had not hit the post from a free and also missed another scorable effort from play midway through the second half.
Salthill’s cutting edge up front was provided by Sean Armstrong, who had a terrific game, and his four points from play were all top class. A series of Corofin markers found him too hot to handle on the day and "Armie" looked in admirable physical shape and he played really well for the entire contest.
Leonard hits nine points
At the other end, young Jason Leonard was Corofin’s star on the day with five classy points from play and four others from placed balls. Leonard’s accuracy was top class and this commentator has never seen him in such sparkling form.
Leonard had top class support up front from All-Ireland winning captain Michael Farragher, the lively Ian Burke, the hard running Dylan Wall at centre-forward, and the returned Micheal Lundy, who is in good shape after his sojourn State-side.
County manager Kevin Walsh will be pleased to see him moving so sweetly and keen to see him resume his intercounty career.
Wing back Kieran Molloy hit a monster score too with 10 minutes to go and it was the key score that finally quelled Salthill’s insurgence.
Considering Corofin had to line out without ace goal getter Gary Sice and top forward Martin Farragher, who both have hamstring problems, team manager Kevin O’Brien will be pleased to have notched 0-11 from play and to have created a few goal scoring opportunities in the second half that were not taken.
O’Brien, who is in his first year as Bainisteoir after serving three years as a selector ,will be delighted to have continued the team’s run as county champions.
“We’ve a lot of young guys coming in, a lot of the experienced guys as well and they all put the shoulder to the wheel last weekend and we are all delighted with the win. Fair play to Salthill, they gave us a really hard game.
“It’s great to have this milestone, great to have this behind us now. We are really delighted.”
The Galway champions will be in action on Sunday forthnight in the Connacht Club championship (November 13 ) when they face the winners of Tourlestrane (Sligo ) v either Castlebar and Knockmore, who play each other next Saturday evening in the Mayo county final in McHale Park.
Corofin: B Power, C Cunningham, L Silke, C Silke; K Figerald, C McGrath, K Molloy 0-1; D Burke, R Steede; B O’Donovan, D Wall, J Leonard 0-9 (4f ),; M Lundy 0-2, Michael Farragher 0-2, I Burke 0-2. Subs used: A Burke (cpt ), Ciaran Brady, K Murphy, D Canney, Colin Brady.
Salthill-Knocknacarra: E Duffy, E Wynne, F Hanley, C Halloran (cpt ); R McTiernan, W Finnerty, G Duffy; C Healy, B Kelly; J Maher, R Butler, T Haran 0-1 (1f ).; R Finnerty 0-4 (3f ), M MacDonnacha, S Armstrong 0-6 (2f ),. Subs used: B Conlon for Armstrong (32-37, blood sub ), G Cox, J Killeen, P Killeen, S Kelly.