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Corofin manager Kevin O Brien.

Corofin manager Kevin O Brien.

Connacht champions Corofin remain focused


ByCianO’Connell


AcoldwindblewthroughTuamStadium,butCorofindidn’tseemtocareintheslightest.AnotherConnachttitlesafelysecuredfollowingadramaladendayinthenorthGalwaytown.

Whileafivepointleadwasfritteredawayintheclosingminutesofnormaltime,Corofindeliveredinextra-time.ThatahostofemergingplayerssuchasDylanMcHughandCiaranBradyledthechargemerelyaddedtothesenseofsatisfaction.

Corofinmightn’tbewinningminororunder21titlesinGalwaywithsuchfrequency,buttalentedfootballersarestillbeingproduced.

“Youcangobacktowhenwewonthenineminorsinarow,ourseniorteamwasgoodatthetime,ittookplayersawhiletomakethebreakthrough,”CorofinmanagerKevinO’Briensays.

“Ithinkthatatthemomentwearemaybenotassuccessfulatunderage,butyoustillhavegoodfootballerscomingintoagoodset-up.

“Theyarealladdingwhichisvery,veryimportant.Weareluckytohaveagreatsquadofplayers,whoareallcommitted.Itisgreattoseetheyoungerguyscominginlearningofftheolderguys,itissomethingthatmakesyoulookforwardtothefuturetoo.”

HowtheysurvivedinitiallybeforesoaringagainstCastlebaraugurswell.“Yeah,goingbacktotheCastlebargameitwasaseesawofemotions,”O’Brienreflects.

“Wewereplayingverywell,wentfivepointsupandinthelast15minuteswecouldn'tgetscoresontheboard,albeitIthinkwewereplayingwellcreatingsomegoodchances.Itjustdidn'tcomeoffforus.

“Thattheladsdeliveredinextra-timewasbrilliant,wewerereallydelightedforladsthatgottheirchance.Theycameout,showedwhattheyaremadeofandputtheirshouldertothewheel.

“Itwasreally,reallyimpressivefromthegroup'sperspectivetogetovertheline.Castlebarareafinesidesoitwasgreattogetavictory.”

Now Corofin face an awkward assignment at McGovern Park, Ruislip on Sunday against London standard bearers Fulham Irish.

“Definitely it is different,” O’Brien acknowledges. “In fairness to the club they have been a great support with that. We have left all the logistics to the Club Chairman Michael Ryder and the people that support him like Jimmy McHugh, the Secretary, they have looked after all of that in terms of the logistics side of it.

“We have really just focused on the game, but it is something different. You have to take it that your preparation is slightly different with the travel and you are playing a team you don't know a lot about, but it is an All Ireland Quarter-Final, if you told me at the start of the year that would we playing it, I would be delighted.”

Corofin will be mentally prepared according to O’Brien. “They are a very good side, a lot of their players have played at inter-county,” the Corofin boss states.

“Some of them have All Ireland medals under their belt, some of them have played in the Galway Championship. It is funny because at this time of the year a lot can depend on the weather.

“If you go by the Galway Hurling Final here last Sunday, it was like it was in the middle of summer. The weather will have a bearing on it aswell, but the pitch seems to be in good nick.”

Since the 90s winning cups at local, provincial, and national level has been central to the Corofin story. O’Brien clever management has Corofin nicely placed once more. “We are fortunate that we have been very successful in Galway in the last few years,” O’Brien admits.

“That is always our first goal, to win the Galway Championship. Everything after that is a bonus. I've said that a good few times. We are probably fortunate to be playing in a very competitive Connacht Championship. To get out of that as Connacht champions is excellent when you consider the opposition.

“At this stage every step now is a big step so you have to focus on it each step at a time. That is something we always try to instil in the group.

“Game one, you always have to win that to get to game six or seven. We are really looking forward to it and it is great to still be in the thick of the action in December.” Regardless of the month, Corofin will always be relevant.

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