Meet the captains

Patrick Gardiner (Ballinahowna, Mountbellew )

Age: 30

Occupation: Civil engineer

Position: Full-back

Marital status: Engaged

Patrick Gardiner has been a loyal servant for Mountbellew over the past 12 years. He won an intermediate medal at corner forward in 1997 and speaks highly of two men who put in huge work over the past decade - Val Daly and Fergal Gavin.

“Those men set very high standards for our club, both on county teams and then also with the club. Fergal was tremendously committed and always gave his absolute best for the cause. He played in about seven county semi-finals and never got to play in a final, so we should appreciate the chance of winning one this year.”

Gardiner is eloquent and cerebral in his views on club football and his side’s chance of success this weekend.

“We sailed very close to the wind the last day out and we can’t allow Corofin the start we gave them the first day. They are a very experienced outfit littered with county players and we know we face a massive test. Hopefully we will give a better account of ourselves this Sunday.”

Sunday is a big day for Mountbellew and Gardiner points out that the club has not won any A titles at underage level since 1982.

“We have worked hard all year and Cyril [Ryan], Martin [Boyle] and James [Foran] have left no stone unturned in our quest for success. It is up to us now - the players - to produce a performance that we can be proud of. Corofin are favourites and rightly so, but we are confident we can play a lot better than we did the first day. Whether that is good enough, remains to be seen”.

Kieran Comer (Ballintleva, Belclare/Corofin )

Age: 28

Occupation: Sales with Robert Roberts

Position: Full-forward

Marital status: Available for selection

Kieran Comer has been around the block. He came on in an All-Ireland club final in 1998 and an All-Ireland county final in 2001. Now he hopes to win his fifth county medal as team captain.

He is an experienced player and knows his own personal form can improve.

“I have been having a tough year, but the team is made up of some terrific players and the role of captain is not something that bothers me. I am not fully happy with my own form this season, but we have a big panel with lots of competition that keeps us on our toes. It was frustrating to have to watch the semi-final from the dug-out the last day, so hopefully I can make a positive contribution this Sunday.

“We all have our own individual jobs to do and if we all do them, we won’t be too far away. Personally, I can’t believe I have been playing senior now for 11 championships and the time has flown. It always does when you are doing something you enjoy.”

Comer knows there is scope to improve, and that Mountbellew could have easily snuck a win two weeks ago.

“Mountbellew is a very good team. They proved that in their wins over Caherlistrane, Annaghdown and Caltra and we will have to be at out absolute best to defeat them. Our shooting was a bit wayward the last day out and we have worked on that, but a lot of credit has to go to the Mountbellew defence for their covering work. Hopefully both teams will provide a quality game for our respective supporters and may the best team win.”



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