Some of their younger players, who have won four consecutive county senior medals, have never tasted defeat in the competition.
However, that dominance has failed to translate into the provincial arena. Last year’s final was one of the more painful lessons as they went down 2-10 to 0-11 with big Barry Moran turning in a man-of-the-match display for Castlebar Mitchels at Tuam Stadium.
Those bitter defeats in massive club games will ensure that there will be zero complacency in the Corofin camp, only a desire to make amends for those losses when they head to MacHale Park to take on the back-to-back Mayo champions tomorrow in the Connacht semi-final.
Corofin corner-back Cathal Silke, who recently joined Deloitte Accountants in Dublin on a three year Chartered Accountancy trainee program, knows that Mitchels will be formidable opponents.
“They are a very experienced and talented side with some top class footballers. We know only too well, to our cost what they are capable of producing. They won Connacht in 2013 and 2015 and they have been one of the top three or four club teams in Ireland over the past few years, reaching two All-Ireland club finals. Paddy Durcan had a super season with Mayo this year and was very unlucky not to get an All-Star. While Barry Moran is one of the top club midfielders in the country. Neil Doughlas is a super player too and is hitting high scores every day.”
Silke, who has been knocking around Kevin Walsh’s Galway senior panel for the past two years, has won six senior county medals since 2009 and two Connacht club titles and he is now travelling from Dublin to training on Tuesdays and Fridays alongside team-mate Conor Cunningham who is a Masters student in UCD.
“It can be tough going with Dublin traffic. Deloitte have been super though and really flexible. They have a big emphasis on work/life balance in the firm. We leave Dublin shortly after 4 pm and get on the road as early as we can to try to beat the traffic which can get really bad, and hit Corofin before 6.45 pm for training at 7pm. We eat a few sandwiches out of tinfoil in the car on the way back, hitting Dublin around 11.30pm.
“Tuesdays are a very long day, however we hope that we will have to do it for a few more weeks at least.”
Corofin have won the Connacht club championship six times since 1991 and the current squad are keen to try and add to that tally by making the provincial decider in two weeks where the winners tomorrow will probably face another Connacht super power - St. Brigid’s (Roscommon).
“This semi-final is a huge game for us. Training has been going really well and the mood in the camp is very positive. Our manager, Kevin O’ Brien (who was a selector for three years with former boss Stephen Rochford) has kept our standards at a really high level and brought his own twist on things. He has gotten in a few different coaches over the past few months to freshen up training which has been a big success. Plus we have a few different lads making the team this year like Bernard Power, Kieran Molloy and Ciarán Brady.”
“Castlebar were the last team to beat us in championship football 12 months ago and we don’t want a repeat of that result. We were on the back of the All-Ireland club win then and we are hoping that we will be a bit fresher and better this time around. This will be about their fifth or sixth week out on the trot in championship and hopefully that will work a little in our favour.
“We are only focusing on ourselves and what we have to do. If we produce a really good team performance, we will be very hard to beat. We know that we will have to produce a better standard of play than we have been getting for the past few months, but we are confident we can up our game. We can’t do any more than aim to be the best that we can be on the day.”