It was being plugged as the greatest club final in history. The meeting of two great teams with absolutely nothing between them. The 2017 champions versus the 2018 champions.
The stage could not have been more set…
However, on the day, it was Corofin who prevailed over Dr Crokes by a comprehensive 12-point margin.
When the sides met two years ago in the semi-final, it was Crokes who held the upper hand, in stark contrast to yesterday where Corofin seemed to have their opponents number all over the pitch.
Manager, Kevin O’Brien put the performance down to his team maturing over the past few seasons.
“They’ll probably go home tonight like we did three years ago, feeling they didn’t perform.” O’Brien said.
“Our team has matured, a lot of our younger players have got more experience, our older players our team is in transition Fitzie (Kieran Fitzgerald) and Sicey (Gary Sice) were outstanding again today, Gizzy (Kieran McGrath) came in as well and did well. all the guys that came in added to it. Our overall group is stronger than in the past and that really helps.
There were some huge performances all over the pitch for Corofin on Sunday, however, Gary Sice and Kieran Fitzgerald put on displays that totally defied men of their age. When asked about their contribution manager O’Brien highlighted how easy they make his job, such is their professionalism.
“Professionals playing an amateur sport. They do it week in week out and Fitzy and Sicey are outstanding in the way they do things and they are great leaders.
“It makes my job easy when you have lads 34 and 38 whatever they are. For young lads there are no excuses, you have just got to do it. These lads eat the right thing all the time, they go to the gym they do their yoga, they are a credit.”
There can be no denying now that Corofin are the best team in Ireland. It takes greatness to do back-to-back titles. However, it could have been very different after nearly being caught in the Galway championship final against Mountbellew/Moylough who were literally seconds away from toppling the champions.
O’Brien admits that day was the turning point for this Corofin team.
“Probably the county final. We got a rude awakening that day and probably lucky to get away with it but then we played well in Connacht semi-final and I just think that you’ll always get an off day when you’re so long on the road and that was our off day.”