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Rock-solid Fitzgerald provided the foundation for Corofin to build their attacking brilliance

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Kieran Fitzgerald. Photo: Sportsfile

Kieran Fitzgerald. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Kieran Fitzgerald. Photo: Sportsfile

Two great runs separated by 18 years bookend the marvellous career of Kieran Fitzgerald, who retired last week. The first comes in the 2001 All-Ireland semi-final between Derry and Galway. The Tribesmen are a point down with five minutes left when they win the ball deep in their own half. Declan Meehan is in possession near the halfway line when Fitzgerald hares up the pitch on his inside and demands the ball.

He is a corner-back, an under 21 player in his first championship season yet the kid wants to take responsibility at this most crucial point. Fitzgerald powers over the halfway line and finds Derek Savage who finds Matthew Clancy who scores the goal which wins the game. When Galway win the final, that pivotal moment sticks in the mind. It's extraordinary to see someone that age making such a run.

In the 2019 Connacht club semi-final, Corofin are playing Ballintubber when midway through the second half Fitzgerald decides it's time for another forward foray. You'd imagine that at the age of 38 he might prefer to save his energy, especially as he's tasked with marking the Mayo champions' danger-man Cillian O'Connor.