Pride of place this weekend goes to the parish of Corofin in county Galway who again gear up for another All Ireland semi-final adventure. St. Galls of Antrim provide the obstacle in the way of this team which has been gaining momentum ever since that County quarter final win over Killererin in Tuam Stadium last August. Corofin are not what you would call newcomer to the national club competition, they have a healthy history in the competition which accumulated with a winning All Ireland club final performance in 98, the first team from Galway ever to march up the steps of the Hogan Stand to claim the Andy Merrigan cup. The player that springs to mind that day was Gerry Burke, a lad coming to the end of his footballing career at the time, went out with a bang as they say. Ray Silke, did you know was the 1st man to lift the Andy Merrigan and the Sam Mcguire Cup in the same season in 1998 when Galway won the Senior football also. That club success continued with two more teams in the coming years marching up the same steps as the Corofin men did perviously, Caltra and Salthill who did the county proud in those occasions. Last year Corofin made it through to the semi final against Kilmacud Crokes, a game played in Mullingar on the Saturday afternoon, Corofin lost out that day and the Crokes went on to win the All Ireland final, id like to think it would be a learing experience for players such as the Burkes, Joe Canney and Comer, just to name a few.
It was a tough road making it this far with obstacles along the way, for the county final up against a Joe Bergin inspired Mountbellew team they looked like they had the game in the bag only for the ‘other big Joe’ to hit a monster score in the dying minutes to earn Mountbellew a replay. For that replay, in truth it was game which Mountbellew certainly deserved to win, however experience won over and Corofin where crowd county champions for the second consecutive year. Corofin went through the Connacht championship like a team on a mission, a mission which accumlated with a ‘classy’ victory against Charlestown on a cold Sunday afternoon.
And so this brings us up to the present-day and this Sunday the Galway Champions take to the field in Parnell Park in Dublin (2.30pm throw-in) where the winner I feel will go into the All Ireland final as favourites. There was good news for the North Galway side this week as news the Kieran Fitzergarld is fit once again and he will take his place in the backline, all going well of course! When you look at the Corofin team you see of the power they possess, they have Sice and Damien Burke in the backline, Greg Higgins and Donnellan in midfield while upfront there is pace and power there with Alan Burke, Steede, Comer and Donavan there to get the show on the road.
St. Galls have been tipped as slight favourites to win Sunday and to win the All Ireland but its up for the Connacht representatives to put right what they put wrong last year and make it to the All Ireland final where they will either play Clare Champions Kilmurray-Ibrickane or Leinster champions Portlaoise. I look forward to Sunday and I hope we can see a Galway representative in this years All Ireland club football final to give the county, in footballing terms, a much needed boost.