Long serving Corofin defender wary of threat posed by Mayo champs

Corofin full back Kieran Fitzgerald who is expecting a tough battle against Castlebar Mitchels at Tuam Stadium on Sunday.
Corofin full back Kieran Fitzgerald who is expecting a tough battle against Castlebar Mitchels at Tuam Stadium on Sunday.

COROFIN stalwart Kieran Fitzgerald is firmly of the opinion that the county senior football champions will have to produce their best performance of 2017 if they are to overcome provincial title rivals, Castlebar Mitchells, in the Connacht SFC club final at Tuam Stadium on Sunday (2pm).

While Corofin submitted a stylish and gritty display to dispatch of Mountbellew/Moylough in the county decider, their form before and after that game has not been lost on former All-Star defender Fitzgerald.

Blessed to have edged beyond Annaghdown in the county semi-final, Corofin then almost blew a winning hand against St. Brigid’s in the Connacht semi-final when relinquishing a five-point lead in the second half and allowing the Roscommon men to force extra-time.

“It was great to win it but we would be disappointed in that we should have closed out the game in the second half,” acknowledges Fitzgerald. “They (Brigid’s) got a stranglehold in midfield and they ran at us, which Castlebar are very good at as well. That is their game. So, Brigid’s caused us problems in that area.

“I suppose, we would also be disappointed with the frees we gave away. We gave away six scoreable frees in the second half. Those sort of things costs us. When we were four points up, given we are experienced enough now, we should have finished out that game but we let them back into it. So those few things. I think if we don’t improve on them for Sunday, we will be in big trouble.”

Eventually, it took an extra-time goal from Galway hurling All-Star Daithí Burke to see Corofin to a 2-15 to 1-14 victory over the 2013 All-Ireland club winners, and Fitzgerald highlights that at the business end of these competitions it is all about the result.

“We would be happier with the way we reacted in extra-time. It was a topsy-turvy sort of day but, in the end, we were just happy to qualify for a Connacht final. Obviously, we are meeting a higher class of opposition on Sunday so that kind of up and down performance won’t be enough.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.