Kieran Comer was just 16 when he emerged on the scene in 1998, winning an All-Ireland medal that March before collecting his first Galway SFC medal later that year.
Yesterday, he picked up his eighth senior medal and the 32-year-old, ruling the roost in midfield, looked as sprightly as ever and Corofin were grateful to his guiding hand.
Mind you, they didn’t need to reach huge heights against a disappointing Salthill-Knocknacarra side, who were beaten in too many of the battles, while two points in the entire second half on a perfect day for football sums up how far they were off the mark.
Comer said that Corofin specifically targeted a big start in their bid for a 15th Galway SFC title and their seventh in 13 years.
“We got a very good start, we felt we really needed that against Salthill. We knew we couldn’t give them an inch.
“They had a good period towards the end of the first half but we got a good start to the second half and thankfully that carried us through,” he said.
Corofin were on the front foot from the outset and picked off points from angles with county player Gary Sice a key figure.
He was fouled for both penalties as he tormented the Salthill defence.
Comer stepped forward when Corofin were awarded a second penalty after 18 minutes when they had built up an impressive five-point lead against a Salthill side who just could not win enough possession.
Eleven minutes earlier Gary Delaney blasted the first penalty to the left and wide, but Comer made no mistake.
That put Corofin 1-7 to 0-2 in front and there was no way back for the champions. although they added points from Sean Armstrong, Seamie Crowe and sub Derek O’Flaherty before the break.
But they still trailed by double scores — 1-7 o 0-5 — at the interval and any hopes of retaining their crown were blown away within 90 seconds of the restart.
Midfielder Ronan Steede pointed in just 13 seconds of the restart and then Sice race through to blast to the net.
Salthill managed just two points in the entire second half and never looked like getting the goal which might have inspired a comeback.
Instead, Corofin added points at will, with Comer hitting a brace and subs Michael Lundy and Padraig Hanly also getting in on the act.
Corofin then lost corner-forward Delaney to a shoulder injury in the closing stages which looks set to rule him out of their Connacht club campaign, which will start against either Mayo’s Castlebar or Breaffy.
Comer said they believed they had the talent on board to make a major assault on the Connacht club championship and would now be turning their full attention to that task.
“When I was lucky enough to come on the scene and win an All-Ireland in ’98, even though I was so young, we thought we would be winning All-Irelands every odd year.
“But, of course, it doesn’t work like that. We have won a good few county titles and we do seem to push on from them and that’s what we will be trying to do this year as well,” he added.
Scorers for Corofin: G Sice 1-4 (0-4f), K Comer 1-2 (1-0 pen), M Farragher 0-2, G Higgins, B O’Donovan, R Steede, G Delaney & P Hanly 0-1 each.
Scorers for S-Knocknacarra: S Armstrong 0-3 (1f), S Crowe (1f) & D O’Flaherty 0-2 each.
COROFIN: T Healy; M Comer, K Fitzgerald, A Lawless; B O’Donovan, G Higgins, L Silke; R Steede, K Comer; G Sice, D Burke, M Farragher; I Burke, J Canney, G Delaney.
Subs: M Lundy for D Burke (35), P Hanly for O’Donovan (43), A Burke for Steede (55), C Silke for Lawless (55), P Kelly for Fitzgerald (55).
SALTHILL-KNOCKNACARRA: S Nallen; A Callanan, F Hanley, C Begley; C Halloran, G Canavan, S Gavin; D Tierney, J Boylan; C Healy, S Armstrong, B Conlon; G Cox, S Crowe, A Kerins.
Subs: D O’Flaherty for Canavan (16), C Treacy for Begley (20), G O’Leidhinn for Conlon (39), R Butler for Tierney (50), K Conlon for Gavin (54).
Referee: M O’Flaithearta.