Corofin senior footballers have been practically untouchable over the last four years in the Galway club championship, and some of their players have never tasted defeat, even once, in the county championship in the four seasons they have played senior football.
However, things have been very different in the Connacht club championship - two defeats under former manager Stephen Rochford to Castlebar Mitchels. They lost out to the Mayo men in the 2013 Connacht final (2-08 to 1-10 ), and this time last year in the semi-final, when they went down by 2-10 to 0-11.
Those bitter defeats in big games will ensure there will be zero complacency in the Corofin camp led by team manager Kevin O’Brien when they head to McHale Park to take on the Mayo champions this Sunday (2pm ).
Mitchels are on a very good run of form as evidenced by their easy wins over Knockmore in the Mayo county final and last weekend over Sligo’s Tourlestrane. They will provide Corofin with a big challenge this weekend. Their task will be exacerbated if key Corofin forwards Martin Farragher and Gary Sice fail to make the starting line-up. Farragher has been out of action since before the county semi-final and Sice did not feature in the county final win and is still troubled by a hamstring injury.
Castlebar have some top players
Corofin half back Conor Cunningham, who is based in Dublin studying for a master’s in strategic management and planning at the Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School in UCD, knows Castlebar will be formidable opponents.
“They are a very good and experienced side with some top class footballers,” he says. “We know only too well to our cost what they are capable of producing, and they have been one of the top teams in Ireland over the past few years.
“Paddy Durcan had a great season with Mayo and was very unlucky not to get an All-Star last week. Neil Douglas is a super player too and is scoring freely, and Barry Moran has been one of the top club midfielders in the country over the past few years. They are a really balanced team and we will need to produce a top class display if we are going to come out of McHale Park with a win.”
Cunningham, who was in Chicago for a few months during the summer, is enjoying his football at the moment and has been travelling home to Corofin from Dublin for Tuesday night training with teammate Cathal Silke over the past few weeks.
“It can be tough going with Dublin traffic. However, it is worth it to be involved with your home club, and it is great to have a bit of company on the journey. We try to leave Dublin shortly after 4.30pm and get on the road as early as we can, and hit Corofin before 6.45pm. Then we would get back to Dublin around 11pm. It is long day, but still we hope we will be doing it for a few more weeks at least.
“Sunday is a big game for us and we are really looking forward to it. Training has been going well and the mood in the camp is positive. We have a few new lads this year such as Kieran Molloy, Dylan McHugh, Ciarán Brady and Dylan Canney, and they have a added a lot of freshness too. Kevin and the entire management team have left no stone unturned and we have no excuses not to perform.”
Cunningham says Castlebar is the last team to beat Corofin in championship football. “We don’t want a repeat of that result. We are focusing on ourselves and what we have to do. If we play to our potential, we will see where that brings us. Hopefully we will produce a top class team performance. We can’t do anymore than that.”