Corofin's Kieran Fitzgerald thriving in twilight of career

Closing in on 40 years of age, life is just beginning in a Corofin jersey for Kieran Fitzgerald.

Corofin's Kieran Fitzgerald thriving in twilight of career

Closing in on 40 years of age, life is just beginning in a Corofin jersey for Kieran Fitzgerald.

The veteran defender begun his club career a year after their All-Ireland triumph of 1998 and played for 15 years without getting a sniff of one himself.

Now, in the space of four years, he’s picked up two All-Ireland medals and is on the verge of qualifying for a third final today.

The 38-year-old, an All-Ireland winner and an All-Star with Galway in 2001, admitted he felt he was destined to finish his career without a club win at Croke Park.

“I had come to a stage in my life, I was 34 or 35 in 2015, and I thought I’d never get to play in an All-Ireland club final,” said Fitzgerald.

“We’d been knocking on the door a while. St Gall’s had beaten us after extra-time, Kilmacud had beaten us, we had a few battles with St Brigid’s.

“I was resigned to the fact that I was going to miss out on playing in one. Then it happened and there’s just huge emotion on the day.

“I remember Croke Park in 2015, and I would regard myself as experienced and composed, but it’s hard to explain, you just get this huge emotion from running out. There’s a magic to playing with your club there and you see people in the stands that you wouldn’t see at inter-county games, elderly neighbours. It’s a real family day, hugely emotional. I was so proud to be part of that 2015 team.”

Fitzgerald was an instant hit with Galway and was on the bench in 2000 when they took Kerry to an All-Ireland final replay.

He lined out at corner-back the following season when they beat favourites Meath in the decider. “I was lucky enough to be involved with the county in 2001, it’s a different feeling to what we’re doing now,” he said.

Going back to 2015, the emotions are hard to describe. You could feel yourself getting choked up running out onto the pitch, shaking yourself and telling yourself you have to cop on and that you still have a club final to play.

Holders Corofin are favourites to overcome Gweedore in Carrick-on-Shannon but it’s far from a given. If they slip up it could force Fitzgerald to consider retirement. “It’s harder to walk away when you’re involved with a club that’s going through a successful period.”

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.