Saturday 19 January 2019

Sice eager to keep up final record in bid for glory

Gary Sice of Corofin. Photo: Sportsfile
Gary Sice of Corofin. Photo: Sportsfile

Sam Wheeler

Plenty of great players never get close to an All-Ireland club triumph, so Gary Sice can have few causes for complaint, but his lone success with Corofin does seem a little meagre when set beside his haul of nine Galway championships and five Connacht titles.

If Sice does feel that Corofin, who take on Nemo Rangers in the final at Croke Park today, ought to have won the big one more than once (in 2015), he is not letting on.

"It's just a very tough competition, we've come up against a lot of really good sides. I've lost three semi-finals to the eventual winners (Kilmacud Crokes in 2009, St Gall's a year later and Dr Crokes 12 months ago)," he says.

"We've never played Nemo before. They're a superpower. They have the most All-Irelands (seven, but none since 2003) . They won't be in any way worried about us coming to Croke Park.

"We'd just like to perform. We feel if we perform we're in with a chance."

If Sice, who retired from Galway duty in January, needs any encouragement, he can look to his record in finals with Corofin: nine wins from 10 in Galway, five from seven in Connacht, and one from one at Croke Park. That's 15 victories from 18 deciders.

All-Ireland semi-finals had been the problem from Corofin: before last month's hard-fought victory over Moorefield, they had lost three of their previous four, going back to their first Andy Merrigan Cup in 1998. Sice, 33, attributes that record to the difficulty of "managing that Christmas break" between the Connacht final and the All-Ireland series.

Sice, who kicked five points in the 2015 final victory over Slaughtneil, reckons there has been "a good turnover of personnel" in the intervening three years, but credits the core of experience running through the side for digging them out of a hole against Moorefield.

"We're around a while now, we didn't panic," he says. "I don't think we changed our game-plan a whole lot, we kept dogging it out. The pitch didn't allow for any fantastic football - it was a bit boggy. It was about winning. We got out of there alive, that's all that mattered."

Irish Independent

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