Anyone watching the Killererin team bus pull up to the back gates of Pearse Stadium behind their Garda escort a good hour before the senior throw-in last Sunday afternoon knew they meant business. They were there to collect.
The entire group that disembarked looked professional and like a group of men on a mission – club chairperson Marie Fahy looked fairly intent on having the Frank Fox Cup on the bus on the return journey too.
All decked out in their new clobber, they had an army of helpers to carry in their boxes of Jaffa Cakes, water, rubs, footballs, jerseys, and a myriad of other gear.
The last man off the bus and into the dressing-room was Nicky Joyce.
Fast forward three hours and he was the most influential player on the field, ending with 1-05 (3fs ), giving a terrific display, and being a key difference between the two sides.
Killererin fully deserved to beat Corofin last Sunday and collect the club’s sixth county title.
They were out of the blocks first and played some composed and measured football to establish an early lead, and when the chips were down at 1-07 each, it was the Barnadearg men who pushed on and scored the last three points to close out the game.
Killererin controlled midfield
Most of Killererin’s early dominance came from the superb high fielding of Thomas Hughes at midfield and the link play of the marvellous Tommie Joyce.
Corofin were not able to get a foothold in that area and as a result they played most of the first half on the back foot.
Nicky Joyce was flying and his pace and ball skills were proving a real handful for his inter-county teammate Damien Burke.
Michael Farragher was the main glimmer of hope for Corofin and his 1-1 from play was the highlight for his side.
Wing-forward Kieran McGrath did make a few incisive runs, but the other forwards had little joy from a resolute defence.
A key moment in the game came almost immediately after Farragher’s goal when a harsh foul hand-pass call by referee Frank Kinneen on Donal Keane gave possession to Killererin and the energetic Ger Butler, who had a splendid hour at corner forward, took the Corofin defence on a merry meander before crossing the ball for Nicky Joyce to punch into the Corofin net.
That goal was a real tonic for Killererin and saw them going in at the break 1-05 to 1-02 to the good and looking by far the more likely victors.
Corofin had to carry out some major reconstructive surgery at the break. Putting Alan Burke back to mark Nicky Joyce and bringing Michael Farragher to midfield worked the oracle for the third quarter as the side scored 0-4 without reply.
However Killererin rallied and with Colin Forde playing impressively at full-back, Daniel Mannion catching the eye too, and Michéal Boyle’s pace up front causing problems, they turned the tide and hit the last four points of the game - two from Nicky, Ger Butler, and a final free from Padraic Joyce.
Killererin deserved their victory and they had solid displays all over the field and looked a more balanced team.
From Alan Keane up to Ger Butler, they all worked like Trojans for the cause and they had some extra star quality in the three Joyces who were immense, Colin Forde at full back, Tom Hughes at midfield, and Jonathan Keane who popped over an important point in the first half.
Corofin looked a tired team and perhaps their last two long seasons caught up with them. Only Michael Farragher who shot 1-03 from play could be pleased with his performance.
Alan O’Donovan kicked two good scores in the second half too and Alan Burke did well when he heard the bugle to go back and pick up Nicky Joyce.
However the vast majority of the top performers last Sunday wore the Red Gap logo on their jerseys and rightly added the 2010 title to the other two collected in the noughties, 2004 and 2007.
Congratulations to them and to their wonderful team captain Declan Kelly who made a marvellous acceptance speech which captured the moment superbly after he was presented with the Frank Fox Trophy.
One of the best decisions Tommie Joyce made all year was making Declan captain and hopefully he will collect another cup before the year is out.
*Killererin will face the winners of next Sunday’s Mayo county final between Castlebar and Ballintubber in Tuam Stadium on November 7.
Well done to those involved in the high-quality programme that was on offer last weekend at the county final.
It was very well put together and had plenty of quality reading for those who like to keep them as souvenirs and to refer to them in weeks to come.
There were many interesting reflections from Jim Carney from years past and informative club histories with Marie Fahy’s contribution on the Killererin club particularly well put together.
Secondly a lot of people were very positive about the €15 entry charge which was good value and well priced for two county finals.