Corofin captain Fitzgerald rules out return to Galway fold
DOUBLE Galway All-Ireland winner Kieran Fitzgerald insists he won't reverse his decision to retire from inter-county football despite his recent excellent form for Corofin.
Fitzgerald, who won All-Irelands in 1998 (as a rookie 18-year-old) and 2001, led by example as Corofin collected their 14th county title and sixth crown since 2000 last Sunday.
And despite playing a captain's part for the club, the Athlone-based Garda insists he won't be making himself available to new Tribes boss Alan Mulholland.
"I think that period of my life has closed, a lot of the old guard have moved on and I'm lucky enough to be part of a club that's competitive and winning things," said Fitzgerald, who was one of three captains named by Tomas O Flatharta last January before stepping away from the squad.
"I know Alan has started to put a squad together but there are plenty of young fellas there and plenty of U-21s too."
After years of struggling with hamstring injuries, Fitzgerald is happy with his fitness.
"The body feels good. I suppose I didn't do the really heavy stuff the Galway boys would have done last year so that has helped."
Corofin reached the All-Ireland club semi-finals in both 2009 and 2010 but fell short and Fitzgerald hopes that that experience can help the Galway side in tomorrow's Connacht club SFC semi-final clash with Ballintubber of Mayo.
"We've been there before and came up short so we know what it takes to progress in this competition. We have a lot of experience from those years but we had six guys picking up their first county medals so it has been freshened up too. We only have a week from the county final and it's not ideal but that's the hand we have been dealt. We've been in similar situations before so hopefully we can draw on that."
Gary Sice is unlikely to play any part for Corofin after picking up a knee injury in the win over Tuam Stars, while the bookmakers have made the Galway men favourites to progress.
They kicked 16 points in last week's final, with 10 coming from Alan O'Donovan. Ballintubber -- who also collected the league title last weekend -- could be without Gary Dillon, who has work commitments in the US.
"They have had two weeks to prepare and might have got to see us play last week in the county final so that's a little bit of an advantage. They won back-to-back titles in Mayo which is no mean feat," said Fitzgerald.
"We saw them last year in Tuam away to Killererin where they lost by a point. They might have won that game with a bit more luck and they might feel like they left it behind them, especially after just winning their first county title. They'll have learned from that."