Sunday 22 September 2019

Corofin hungry for more as they renew rivalry with Brigid's

Corofin manager Kevin O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile
Corofin manager Kevin O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Last month's success in Galway made it five in a row for Corofin but that's parked now. There is more glory to be chased.

Tomorrow, they renew one of the keenest rivalries on the Connacht club scene when they welcome Roscommon side St Brigid's to Tuam. It will be the fourth time the sides have met since 2006 with St Brigid's currently leading the series 2-1. And given the history of the fixture in recent times, fireworks, of one sort or another, are likely.

Karol Mannion scored a spectacular winning goal in the 2006 Connacht final to pull the game out of the fire.

Five years later, Corofin were angry when a disallowed goal saw them lose by the minimum in Kiltoom in another provincial decider.

That pent-up frustration got its release last year when they hammered the Roscommon side to reclaim their Connacht crown.

However, Corofin manager Kevin O'Brien insists that the history between the clubs will mean little to the current squads.

"We have played each other plenty alright and had some great battles," he reflected. "I think last year we got an early goal and that set us up and we carried that through the game.

"But overall this is a different team, they have a new team too so there won't be much rivalry between the players. Maybe five or six years ago it was different."

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O'Brien is in his second year as manager, having served as a selector under current Mayo boss Stephen Rochford when they won the club's second club All-Ireland title in 2015.

Rochford's side were lauded for not only winning that All-Ireland but also for the brilliant style they employed. O'Brien, who was part of the squad that secured the club's first All-Ireland club title, insists that is the Corofin way.

"Our mindsets (between himself and Rochford) would be similar. All through the various ages you'd see something pretty similar in Corofin. We like to move the ball through long kick-passing, you'd see that from U-12 and U-14 all the way up."

They looked well on track to get back to another All-Ireland final when winning last year's Connacht decider in such convincing fashion, only to be derailed by eventual All-Ireland champions Dr Crokes in the semi-final.

"Looking back on it, that was a day where we probably just didn't turn up for whatever reason. And Dr Crokes went on to prove what a team they are in the final. We had a spell before half-time where we looked like we were getting back into it but we were hit by a goal. We just didn't perform."

They've been through extended seasons year after year. There was break of just a fortnight between the defeat to Crokes and the start of the new season in Galway.

Throw in that they had seven or eight players in with Galway at any one time during the year and they could be forgiven if the fuel gauge was low.

"They are a very ambitious and committed bunch. And players just want to play."

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