Veteran star Fitzgerald chasing down his perfect 10 with Corofin
It’s been quite the journey for Kieran Fitzgerald. As a 19-year-old corner-back, he could scarcely believe the hammering his Galway team dished out to Meath in the 2001 All-Ireland final.
He looked set for great things in Croke Park but amazingly he wouldn’t win again at HQ until last March’s All-Ireland club final when he was 34.
It’s been far from doom and gloom since then though. Fitzgerald turns 35 in January but in Sunday’s Galway SFC final clash with Mountbellew Moylough he goes in search of his tenth county medal.
That’s not to say things haven’t taken their toll on Fitzgerald and Corofin. After their win over Slaughtneil, Fitzgerald went under the knife to fix an ankle problem.
The rest of the squad had just three weeks between the St Patrick’s Day win and their new league season and when added to the previous campaigns, they have been on the go for effectively three years solid.
“There’s a few niggles and at times we haven’t been going that well. It’s been pretty solid going for the last few years but we won’t be using that as an excuse,” Fitzgerald says.
Corofin produced probably their best display in their semi-final win over Cortoon which Fitzgerald missed with a dead leg that has now cleared up.
Sunday’s opponents are the coming force in the county. Joe Bergin has flourished away from the county scene and around him are a flurry of young players who have been making waves in Galway.
“They’ve had a lot of success at underage level are they have some lovely young footballers coming through. They’ll certainly be a force for the next few years.
“We have played them already this year, once in a Connacht tournament and they beat us and again in the league in Galway. We played them in the final in 2009 and that went to a replay so we know how good they are.”
Whatever happens on Sunday, the future of Corofin manager Stephen Rochford is sure to come under the microscope. The Crossmolina native is among the frontrunners to take charge of his native Mayo and Fitzgerald has no doubt he’d be an asset to the county.
“He’s a super manager and when you have someone like him you are bound to get some keen interest. His attention to detail is second to none and he is strong in his beliefs. I have no doubt that inter-county is his scene and Mayo wouldn’t be doing a bad thing by getting him on board.”
Before that though, there’s more glory to be chased.