Galway senior club champions Corofin head to Kiltoom in Roscommon on Sunday (2pm ) to take on St Brigid’s in the Connacht club final.
Corofin annexed the provincial title in 2008 and 2009, while the Roscommon men won it in 2006 (beating Corofin with a sensational late Karol Mannion goal in the final ).
St Brigid’s also won the provincial title in 2010 and they were a little unfortunate to lose out to Crossmaglen Rangers in the All-Ireland final last March.
Based on those statistics, this Sunday is a face-off between the top two clubs in the province over the past few years and should attract a large attendance to St Brigid’s home pitch in Kiltoom, which is located between Athlone and Roscommon.
For those who cannot make the journey, the game will be live on both TG4 and Galway Bay FM.
Corofin have been hot and cold
Corofin have shown glimpses of sublime form in patches over the past few weeks. They were sensational in the first half against Tuam and for a 20-minute spell against Ballintubber two weeks ago.
However, when they drop their workrate and intensity they can look very pedestrian. This was particularly evident when they conceded 1-4 to Ballintubber in the first 15 minutes the last day out.
This Corofin panel is very experienced, with a host of players who have played with Galway at different levels, from team captain Kieran Fitzgerald to Aiden Donnellan who was Galway minor captain back in 1994.
They will know they must be more consistent for the full 60 minutes if they are to overcome what will be a huge test this weekend.
Their forwards, in particular as a unit, must work harder to stop their opposition clearing ball uncontested.
Michael Donnellan relishing the challenge
Team selector and trainer, Michael Donnellan who won three Connacht club medals himself with the club in the 1990’s, acknowledges that next Sunday will be a big test for the side.
“It will be a savage test to go down there and come out with a victory. We are going into the Lion’s den and they will be very keen to put two titles back-to-back. They have dominated Roscommon club football over the past few years and they have been extremely strong at u-21 level in the county. They have some top quality players all over the field and as we learnt to our cost in the 2006 final, if they are not closed down and allowed space they will punish you. Guys like Senan Kilbride, Karol Mannion and the Dolans are very good players and we will have to be at our very best to advance.”
However, Donnellan, who has enjoyed his first year as senior trainer with Corofin, is excited about the challenge that lies ahead.
“We are relishing it. To win a Connacht title you have to beat the best teams in the province. You have to expect that and St Brigid’s are a top side. They are the reigning champions and will want to keep their title. We are underdogs going into the game, but we are really looking forward to it.
“We have a high quality panel and it will probably take a 20-man effort to get a win this weekend, so we will be looking to lads to come in and make a big impact when called upon. As Dublin proved with Kevin McManamon all year, top subs can change and win tight games,” he says.
“We had massive support in the county final and again in McHale Park and we are asking all our supporters and anyone who can, to come along and cheer the team on. In a close game, vocal and boisterous support can be a vital factor.”