Rochford refocuses Corofin

Stephen Rochford is Corofin’s first outside manager. A Mayo man, he won an All-Ireland club title with Crossmolina in 2001 alongside the likes of Ciaran McDonald and the brothers Tom and James Nallen.

Rochford refocuses Corofin

A branch manager with AIB in Castlerea, the 36-year-old has helped the Galway club put two county titles back to back since his arrival.

Corofin were in outstanding form last October and November and annexed the Shane McGettigan trophy with some ease against Ballintubber.

But form is difficult to ring-fence and Rochford knows victories almost three months ago can’t guarantee a performance against All-Ireland champions St Vincent’s tomorrow at O’Connor Park — with a visit to Croke Park on St Patrick’s Day at stake.

“We were beaten by Castlebar Mitchels in the Connacht championship last year which was very disappointing.

“Hopefully, we learned from the experience and can put the lesson to use tomorrow,” says Rochford.

He is well aware too of the huge talent the Marino club has in its ranks.

“They are a tremendous team and have been the best club side in the country for the past two years.

“They have quality players in every line and no side comes out of the ultra-competitive Dublin championship two seasons in a row without being a really formidable outfit.

“Guys like Diarmuid Connolly, Mossie Quinn, Brendan Egan, Ger Brennan and Eamonn Fennell are all really experienced inter-county players and they have a really serious panel who know how to win at the top level. We will have to produce a really polished performance to get past them.”

That said, Rochford and his panel are focusing only on what they can control.

“The beauty of top-level sport is trying to be the best you can be, and maximising your potential.

“To win an All-Ireland title at any grade, you have to beat the best teams out there, and that is what we have to do tomorrow.

“We have prepared really well and apart from a few niggles we are injury-free, so we are just hoping that we will perform to the standard required.”

Corofin have lost four All-Ireland club semi-finals in the past 23 years (Dr Crokes, 1992; Laune Rangers, 1996; Kilmacud Crokes, 2008 and St Galls, 2009).

Each time, their opponents went on to win the title. They will need top-class displays and genuine leadership all over the field if they are to avoid that number going to five.

Rochford will be looking to big performances from Tomas Healy in goal, defenders Kieran Fitzgerald, Alan Burke, Liam Silke and Kieran McGrath.

County senior hurler Daithí Burke and Ronan Steede will need to do well around the middle and up front, Gary Sice, Micheal Lundy, Ian Burke and team captain Michael Farragher must carry a threat.

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