Corofin, who are the current Connacht club football champions, are very aware of the threat posed to their crown by Glencar-Manorhamilton from Leitrim in this Sunday’s Connacht club semi-final at Tuam Stadium at 2pm.
If Corofin had a full team from which to select, the mood in the club would be much more buoyant regarding their chances of reaching the Connacht final against either Castlerea or Charlestown. Those sides play in the other semi-final in Dr Hyde Park this Sunday.
However a bad hamstring pull to regular full-back and Galway senior Kieran Fitzgerald sees him ruled out of this weekend’s clash. Also still out of contention for selection with an ankle injury is the side’s normal free-taker and experienced corner forward Alan O’Donovan. His absence is compounded by a calf injury to David Hanley who started the replayed county final and an on-going groin problem that may necessitate surgery for go-getter Joe Canney.
Cathal Silke too, who has impressed in his debut season at senior level, is also a doubt with a shoulder injury, and he has not trained properly since the county final.
Few clubs can afford to be without three or four of their starting XV and expect to win with any degree of comfort and Corofin are no exception.
The side’s captain, Kieran Comer is under no illusion about the tough task they face this Sunday in trying to reach another provincial final.
“We are expecting a real dog-fight on Sunday. With the amount of injuries and flus going around the dressing-room, we won’t be finalising our starting 15 until Saturday evening or Sunday morning.
“This weekend will be real winter football and there will probably be only a point or two in it either way. Glencar-Manorhamilton are experienced and they played in the Connacht championship last year too, so this is nothing new to them. They had a good win in the Leitrim championship beating Carrigallen in the final by a point. They scored 0-14 in that win and we will need to be very alert all over the field if we are to advance.”
When questioned about the on-going injury problems, Comer, who could not start the first game against Mountbellew in the county final with flu, is philosophical.
“Everyone is a loss. But you just have to get on with it. We have a good panel and when guys are unavailable it presents opportunities for other players on the panel. We just need everyone working as hard as possible for the cause on Sunday and if we have a bit of luck, we might sneak into the final. The fact that the game is at home is a big advantage and hopefully our supporters will come out as they always do to cheer us on”.
The Corofin management team will have to make changes for Sunday’s clash and players like Trevor Burke, Shane “Chuckie” Monaghan, Ronan Steede, and Michael Farragher will all be in the mix for starting jerseys up front.
It should be a close game, especially with the weather conditions as they have been all week, but the big game experience of the likes of Damien and Alan Burke, Gary Sice, Greg Higgins, Aidan Donellan, Kieran McGrath, and Kieran Comer should see the North Board men gain plenty of possession. If they are proficient in front of goal, they should advance.