Wednesday 16 October 2019

Farragher gears up for final without red-card distractions of last year

Farragher had a day to remember and top-scored from play with six points with his brother Michael scoring 1-1. Photo: Sportsfile
Farragher had a day to remember and top-scored from play with six points with his brother Michael scoring 1-1. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Perhaps Corofin's Martin Farragher will be able to enjoy the build-up to this All-Ireland club final a little bit more.

Around this time 12 months ago, he was watching the phone and sweating over his email to see whether the red card he picked up in the second minute of the All-Ireland semi-final win over Moorefield would keep him out of the final.

Farragher had contested a high ball with Liam Healy with the Kildare man winning possession. The officials somehow interpreted the aftermath as deserving of a red card. Corofin won by a goal with 14 men but Farragher (below) had to go to the boardroom to make sure he was clear to play in the decider.

"I was a bit shocked at the time," he said. "These things happen but we got over it. Credit to the lads to play an All-Ireland semi-final with 14 against 15 for the whole game, To win that was a serious achievement in itself."

However, even getting cleared to play wasn't straightforward. The inclement weather conditions meant his hearing was pushed back which served to elongate the agony before he was eventually exonerated.

And it's for that reason that he can empathise with the plight of Dr Crokes' Johnny Buckley who also had to go to the discipline chiefs to ensure he could play in the final after his dismissal against Mullinalaghta.

"I suppose thanks to the GAA that it was overturned in the first place," Farragher recalled ahead of their AIB All-Ireland Club SFC final against Crokes.

"It would have been a disaster if I didn't get to play in that final. I know what Buckley must have been feeling this year and I'm delighted that he's getting the chance to play as well. I was just delighted to be playing on Paddy's Day last year."

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As it happened, it all came together on the day for the Galway men. They ran out 15-point winners against a Nemo Rangers side who had dumped Dr Crokes out - then the defending champions - in the Munster club final.

Farragher had a day to remember and top-scored from play with six points with his brother Michael scoring 1-1.

"I didn't expect it but it was a great day personally for me. But the performance from everyone was incredible. Everyone just seemed to turn up that day. The movement was something special which made it easier for the inside forwards because we often rely on people out the pitch.

"It was just one of those days when it clicked. We got a few points up and Nemo found it hard to get it back then."

Farragher is 24 now and not currently in Kevin Walsh's plans though the likes of Ian Burke and Liam Silke have played for the county side in this year's league.

However, he hasn't given up hope of returning to the set-up down the line. First, though, there's a fourth All-Ireland club win for Corofin to chase, a win that would put them into third in the roll of honour behind only Nemo and Crossmaglen.

"A lot of (Corofin's success) comes from the underage. We've a serious underage structure there. The likes of Frank Morris have been there from day one. There's a video of him coaching underage back in 1998. I suppose a lot of the lads he was coaching then that are probably on the team now. Kieran Fitzgerald has been around the block, he's been through everything in terms of club football at this stage. And Gary Sice, these are lads we take inspiration from. We used to watch then and now we're playing with them. It's a dream come true."

Dr Crokes won the last meeting between the sides in the All-Ireland semi-final in 2017 when they ran out nine-point winners.

"We played them two years ago in the semi in Limerick. They bet us that day. They're a serious outfit," he recalled.

"They're one of the best club teams out there at the moment. They've some serious players like Johnny Buckley, Micheál Burns. These lads have all played Kerry senior so they're incredible for the club."

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