Corofin's terrific record that may not be repeated anytime soon

In all competitions, including provincial and All-Ireland series games, their actual unbeaten number is 34; 32 wins and two draws.

Corofin's terrific record that may not be repeated anytime soon

Michael Farragher is asked if he knows what Corofin’s number is but he can’t say for certain.

He heard a while back that within the Galway championship the seven-in-a-row winners were closing in on 40 games unbeaten. It’s closer to 50 now.

“I think 39 was one of the numbers that was thrown out on a website, I don’t know how long ago that was or anything but I remember it was a figure that was mentioned,” he said.

In all competitions, including provincial and All-Ireland series games, their actual unbeaten number is 34; 32 wins and two draws.

It’s a figure that takes in a period of dominance that stretches back to their last defeat in a Championship game in February of 2016, when Dr Crokes prevailed in an AIB All-Ireland semi-final tie.

Since then, they’ve been literally unbreakable, adding three more county titles, three provincial titles and two All-Irelands.

Whilst much has been made of their historic bid for three All-Irelands in a row, just reaching the January 19 final in itself, following two previous wins, would be something no club has previously done.

“To be honest, it really is a side issue at the minute, we don’t really let it creep in,” said attacker Farragher of the three-in-a-row.

There’s genuinely no mention of it. Obviously people are aware of it but it doesn’t seem to put any pressure on us.

"We kind of focus on a game by game basis, week by week. I think that’s what’s kind of helped us to maintain our hunger throughout the years. When you’re focused on the next game you’re not wearing yourself out thinking about two, three weeks down the line.”

It’s a sound strategy though Corofin have still cheated defeat on a number of occasions. Like in November when they required a replay to overcome Tuam Stars in the county final or in 2018 when they needed a second hour to overcome Mountbellew-Moylough at the same stage.

Twice in the 2017 Connacht championship, against St Brigid’s and Castlebar, they needed extra-time to get the job done.

Still, 34 games unbeaten is a terrific record that may not be repeated anytime soon.

“It’s probably just the will to win,” said Farragher, when asked to explain how they keep winning.

“Everyone is kind of on the same wavelength. Definitely the Mountbellew game (was tight), even against Annaghdown the previous year (2017) we just about scraped through.

"The Tuam game this year was nearly gone from us only for a Gary Sice free kick to pull us back. So we’re very lucky to be where we are.”

Back in November when Paul Kerrigan was talking about Corofin, he suggested that an All-Ireland semi-final might be the best time to play them.

Kerrigan noted that Corofin huffed and puffed and just about blew Moorefield’s house down in the 2017 semi-finals before opening up with their best football in the final at Croke Park, beating Nemo by 15 points.

There was a similar pattern last year when Corofin overcame Gweedore by four points in the semi-finals yet had a dozen points to spare against Dr Crokes in the final.

“Looking over the last few years, the time to get them is a semi-final, if we get there,” said Kerrigan, before the Munster final.

Nemo, of course, are there and they’ll play Corofin today in Ennis, renowned as a tight pitch that could potentially restrict Corofin’s all-action running game.

In reality, Cusack Park isn’t actually as small as many think and, according to former Clare hurling manager Gerry O’Connor in 2018, is actually bigger than Thurles and Croke Park.

Either way, Farragher isn’t overly concerned about the venue or the talk of his team being vulnerable.

“It’s just another challenge,” he said. “We’ve played on tight pitches before.

In fairness, we both play similar styles of football so I don’t know if it will help or benefit either team.

What’s certain is that Corofin enjoy Croke Park and would love to return.

Farragher can’t deny that, scoring as he did a wonder goal at the end of a snaking, multi pass move in that 2017 final win over Nemo.

“That passage of play was class,” he said.

“We try to focus on moving the ball as quickly as possible, there were a number of hand-passes in that move and it just kept going. Yeah, it’s kind of a joy to watch it back.”

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