Friday 19 July 2019

Fitzgerald regrets red in record club triumph

Corofin's Kieran Fitzgerald. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Corofin's Kieran Fitzgerald. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

A year ago Kieran Fitzgerald overtook clubmate Trevor Burke as the record Galway championship winner, but after winning his 13th county medal at the weekend he thinks this was one of the sweetest despite being sent off for the first time in his career.

It took a replay for Corofin to get past Mountbellew/Moylough and along the way Fitzgerald picked up the first red card of his career, but after seeing his side written off in some circles, the 37-year-old former Sam Maguire winner is excited by the future.

Roscommon champions Clann na nGael are next up as Corofin take the next step towards the defence of their Connacht and All-Ireland club titles, but for a day at least Fitzgerald will savour another historic win.

"That's 13 now but this one was a lot sweeter than many of them. The way it had to be won, we were asked a lot of questions, but we got there," said Fitzgerald.

After Sunday's 1-8 to 0-5 county final victory Corofin manager Kevin O'Brien proclaimed that Fitzgerald is still one of the best full-backs in Galway. He was tasked with marking current inter-county star Barry McHugh and kept him scoreless from play.

In an ugly game both players were involved in plenty of wrestling off the ball and in the end they were both sent off have been twice booked together. Fitzgerald regrets his indiscretion.

"Barry is a good footballer and you have to keep as tight as possible to him. I've never been sent off in my life before so that was a shame."

Both the draw and replay were tense affairs, where Mountbellew/Moylough sought to smother Corofin with an ultra-defensive set-up.

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"Ideally I suppose we would have liked to play a bit more. We did the best we could but it was a terrible game. It wasn't the way we wanted to play but it was put in front of us," he adds.

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