Corofin’s squad is ready and rested ahead of Saturday’s All-Ireland final Saturday

Corofin manager and former All Ireland club winner Kevin O'Brien with key forward Ian Burke.  
Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Corofin manager and former All Ireland club winner Kevin O'Brien with key forward Ian Burke. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

This Saturday morning around 8.30am a Burke's bus will pull out of the Belclare community pitch with the Corofin football panel heading for Jones’s Road and a clash with the famous Cork club, Nemo Rangers, in the All-Ireland senior club football final.

Corofin team manager Kevin O'Brien, who was a member of the Corofin squad which won the club's first All-Ireland senior title 20 years ago, is now hoping his team will produce a performance of which they can be proud on this biggest day on the club football calendar.

With no fresh injuries, O'Brien says Corofin have options both on and off the bench.

"All the hard training and preparation has been done at this stage, and it is only a matter of resting up now until the game gets under way on Saturday afternoon.

"Thankfully, bar Kevin Murphy who is out with a quad injury, we have a full squad to pick from, and with Kieran McGrath and Conor Cunningham coming back from injuries, it gives us options as for our starting 15, and more importantly in many regards, options off the bench.

"It will be tough on the lads who don't get to start the final. However, we would not be going up to Dublin this weekend but for the contributions guys have made coming off the bench in the last four or five games, and we are fully cognisant of that fact.

"It is all about the full squad we have and we will either win or lose together. We will need our subs coming on to make a real impact on the game, and it will probably take a 20-man effort to get us over the line."

Nemo top the roll of honour

Corofin is mindful of Nemo's seven All-Ireland club titles. Topping the roll of honour, they are a club with serious tradition, pedigree and belief.

They have had many great days in All-Ireland club finals with some famous Cork GAA names such as Billy Morgan, Colin Corkery, Dinny Allen, Jimmy Kerrigan, Joe Kavanagh and Steven O'Brien on past teams.

Their last title was in March 2003 and they will see Saturday as an opportunity to annex another title.

They defeated Slaughneil (Derry ) by 2-19 to 1-14 after extra-time in their All-Ireland semi-final, with full-forward Luke Connolly hitting 2-05 of that total.

Others who caught the eye in that win for the Cork champions were forwards Barry O'Driscoll, Paul Kerrigan, and former Kerry star Tomás Ó Sé, who notched 0-2.

Corofin last won the All-Ireland title in 2015 and they will be travelling up the motorway quietly confident they too can regain the title if they produce their best football.

Ian Burke crucial for Corofin

They will need big displays from their forward division where Ian Burke, Gary Sice, Jason Leonard, Michéal Lundy and the Farragher brothers, Martin and Michael, and Colin Brady have all shown flashes of real quality when it was needed most.

Burke, in particular, is crucial to the cause with his ability to open up opponents and create scoring opportunities both for himself and teammates. He will be targeted by the Nemo defence on Saturday, but if he gets good supply, he will do damage.

Outside those forwards, Daithí Burke and Ronan Steede will be expected to man the engine room and win a fair share of possession around the middle third.

Defensively experienced players such as team captain Kieran McGrath, Kieran Fitzgerald, the Silke brothers, Cathal and Liam, and younger men like Kieran Molloy and the impressive Dylan Wall, have the pace, power and football skills to repel the Nemo attack.

It promises to be a super game of football with two high quality sides, and it is expected there will be little between them coming down the home stretch.

Nemo impressed in Munster, especially how they disposed of Killarney Crokes, and they are a dangerous proposition on Saturday.

However, if Corofin click as they can, we in this parish expect them to have just enough to get over the end line as winners.

The throw-in is at 2pm, and is live on TG4. The referee for the game is Meath's David Gough.


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