Three key duels to Sunday’s Connacht final

Tom Parsons (Charlestown ) v Greg Higgins (Corofin )

Higgins is 23 and was recently selected as the top club player in Galway for 2009. He is showing the kind of form that will have caught Joe Kernan’s eye. Standing 6ft, 4’ and with an eye for a score or two, he faces a tough job on Sunday tangling with Parsons who has played senior championship with Mayo. Both men are very mobile, good fielders, and link the play well and their joust should be one of the best individual contests this Sunday.

Tony Mulligan (Charlestown ) v Damien Burke (Corofin )

Due to the hamstring injury to Kieran Fitzgerald, Damien Burke has been pushed back to man the edge of the square. He has done well in his relocation and on Sunday he will have to be at his best to nullify Tony “The Bomb” Mulligan.

Mulligan scored two crucial points against Castlerea to propel his team to victory. He is 25 and has been having a very positive season on the edge of the square for Ciarán McBride. Burke is an experienced campaigner and man-marker and he should have the football ability and power to keep Mulligan’s contribution to the minimum.

Aiden Higgins (Charlestown ) v Alan Burke (Corofin )

Both players have played with distinction for their respective counties at all grades and Higgins, 33, was a solid Mayo regular for many years.

His legs may not be what they used to be and Burke will try to expose any lack of pace with his searing runs through the middle.

Burke does not play as an orthodox centre forward and he constantly interchanges around the field collecting possession. Higgins is susceptible if run at and that is where Burke or raiding wingbacks can do some damage on the opposition rearguard.

It’s November and we are still going

It is ironic that when the GAA headlines on the national newspapers last Sunday and Monday were all to do with the Gaelic Players Association coming under the umbrella of the larger GAA body itself, and how that new co-existence will be for the betterment of the county player, that the successful club players still have to get out and put on the best displays they can deliver in the height of winter.

On the last Sunday in November the players from Charlestown and Corofin will put on their Speedos, sorry, football shorts, and do the best they can to try to win the Connacht championship.

Corofin’s experienced selector Paul McGettigan is content that the extra week gained due to last week’s postponement allowed some niggling injuries to be put to bed. “We have had a few weeks to prepare now for this challenge and while we will be without some top quality players like Kieran Fitzgerald, Tomás Costello, and Michael Comer while Alan O’Donovan is only on the way back from injury, we have had time to plan accordingly.”

McGettigan, who is a very positive thinker by nature, suggests that the extent of the club’s injuries all season has allowed the likes of Gary Sice, Alan Burke, and Kieran McGrath to prove their flexibility and adaptability by interchanging as forwards and defenders on a regular basis.

“My firm belief is that a good footballer can play anywhere. And thankfully we have a lot of good players who are extremely versatile. We have needed that all year to get to this stage and we will need it again on Sunday. We have prepared assiduously and the hard work is done. Martin McNamara (team coach ) has done fantastic work with the lads this season and we are hopeful that on Sunday we will give a good account of ourselves and do enough to edge out a victory. With conditions as they are, it will be a tough game for both sides, but I believe that we have enough quality on our panel to travel down to Charlestown and win.”


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