Corofin players need to steer clear of the hype and remain focused

All Ireland Senior Club Football Championship final

Corofin captain Michael Farragh, leading his side out in Tuesday’s All Ireland Club final.

Corofin captain Michael Farragh, leading his side out in Tuesday’s All Ireland Club final.

Having broken bread on a few occasions with former Kerry All-Ireland winning captain Dara Ó Cinnéide, I know that one of his main sporting regrets is losing the All-Ireland club final in 2004 to a relatively unknown side from Galway called Caltra by a point (0-13 to 0-12 ).

An Gaeltacht had an all-Star cast a decade ago. The three Ó Sé's, Aodán MacGearailt and Ó Cinnéide were established intercounty stars with the medals to prove their pedigree and they were hot favourites to collect the Andy Merrigan cup.

However the Meehans and their brothers-in-arms, Brian Laffey, Shane Hogan and company, had other ideas and did the job to bring the trophy out to their parish and not down to West Kerry.

Likewise in 1998, in the All-Ireland intercounty final, Kildare were hyped to the last coming up to the final and their players will still tell you to this day that the sense of expectation in the county was unbelievable and overwhelming in some regards. They believe it was a factor in their defeat.

There is no such thing as a sure thing in sport or life, and the Corofin players will need to have insulated themselves from the hype and excitement that is sweeping the parish.

The bookies have the N17 men at 1/4 to win, with Mickey Moran's lads at a very attractive 7/2.

If it is a wet, cold and windy day in Croke Park, the game will become a genuine dog fight. Having spoken to a few men who were at the game between Slaughtneil and Austin Stacks, they confirm the Derry men will not back down from anything or anyone.

They will be well tutored by Mickey Moran and they will not be going out to give Michael Lundy, Gary Sice, Ian Burke and company the free run of the pitch.

Corofin team captain Michael Farragher, whose younger brother Martin is also on the starting team, is well aware Corofin need to keep their focus.

"We need to produce a really good performance if we are going to win the game next Tuesday,” says Farragher. “ The bookies ‘odds are silly and mean nothing to us. They are irrelevant. We know we have to be at our very best if we are to collect the trophy. We expect a real battle. The Slaughneil lads are a close knit group and, if we don't keep our eye on the job in hand, we could pay a very high price."

Corofin have no real injury worries apart from a few niggles and Farragher is really looking forward to the game.

"My uncle Tommie[Greaney] was wing-back on the 1998 team and I was at that game as an eight-year-old with all my family. Hopefully we can emulate that team and go on and win the Andy Merrigan. We have worked very hard over the past year or so and we really want to finish off the job with a top quality performance in the final. We all have our individual jobs to do and, if we all do them, we will be hard to stop.

“Anyone who expects it to be easy is out of touch. We are going up on the morning of the game with one objective and that is to get a win. How that happens is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that we are ahead when the final whistle goes. And that is the bottom line."

The game throws in at 4pm in Croke Park and is live on TG4.

I expect Corofin to win, but it promises to be a real battle and I expect there to be little between the sides at the finish.


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