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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 17 October, 2018

Galway final on Saturday and Connacht semi-final on Sunday - the perfect GAA winning weekend

Galway football Danny Cummins has a Connacht decider to look forward to.

Updated at 20.15

DANNY CUMMINS HAD waited a while to savour the feeling of a county football title with Claregalway.

AIB Munster GAA Hurling Senior Club Championship Final Media Day Claregalway footballer Danny Cummins. Source: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE

The only problem was that when he finally made the breakthrough, the Galway senior footballer had not countenanced that a Connacht clash would be in the pipeline for the very next day.

On the first weekend of this month, Claregalway picked up the Galway intermediate trophy with a three-point win in Pearse Stadium on a Saturday afternoon.

Four years after falling through the relegation trapdoor at senior level in Galway, it was an occasion to appreciate.

But Claregalway had to get their heads right and point the team bus north on the N17 to Markievicz Park the following day, where they backed up local success with a two-point provincial victory over Sligo champions St John’s.

“It was a strange feeling because you want to celebrate and go mad,” recalls Cummins.

“As a team we all went back to the Claregalway hotel, had a bit of food, played FIFA, lads had a few pints who wanted pints. Watched the Liverpool v West Ham (game) that was on.

“Everyone had a drink in front of them and then the leaders had a bit of a chat amongst each other about what way we wanted to go about this.

“I wouldn’t be one for putting a leash on lads either, if they’re going at it, let them at it.

“In fairness, everyone took that on when a few senior lads piped up and said it. management didn’t get involved at all. I don’t think they wanted to get involved, they wanted to see it come from the players.

“We all just stayed together for a couple of hours. The two physios were there looking after us all.

“It was hard to stay away from the bar now for a lot of it. The last time we won the intermediate was in ’02, so all the stalwarts from ’02 were out in the front bar giving it loud.

“So you’d be coming in and out to them and having the craic with them but we headed up around half eight or nine o’clock as things were escalating.

“We met up the following morning then in the hotel, had a bite to eat, and then headed for Sligo.”

A general view of Markievicz Park Markievicz Park hosted the Connacht club semi-final clash. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Getting steeled mentally was one challenge, coping with the physical demands was another.

“It was well worth it now,” states Cummins.

“Once the final whistle went on Sunday, two games over, two wins, it was a mad 48 hours.

“I’ll be honest, I actually thought it would be tougher. I suppose the way the game transpired we were chasing for a lot of it.

“We were three points down at half-time and had a bit of a wind with us and were escalating up a small bit and looking forward to the second half.

AIB Munster GAA Hurling Senior Club Championship Final Media Day Source: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE

“Once we got the goal with 12 minutes to go, the buzz of that. I couldn’t get over the crowd that travelled as well.

“They were roaring ‘Claregalway’ in Markievicz Park. I’ve never experienced anything like that.

“And then the last ten minutes, you’re just feeding off adrenalin. it was a magic feeling to be honest. Once the final whistle went, all of a sudden the body shut down.

“Everything started cramping and I could hardly get to the dressing-room afterwards.”

Now a Connacht intermediate final beckons this Sunday. Claregalway have watched their neighbours Corofin grow accustomed to these big provincial days but it is unchartered territory for them.

Conor Cunningham, Daithi Burke, Jason Leonard and Kevin Murphy celebrate after the game Corofin players celebrating their 2016 Connacht senior club final victory. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Roscommon club Michael Glavey’s are also vying for the prize and Cummins does have some insight into largely unfamiliar opposition.

“One lad I know very well, Andy Glennon, he was the man of the match for their last game, he scored eight points.

“He works in the next row in my office in Boston Scientific, that’s how close we are together.

“So the craic in the office when I came back in last week was awful funny. A few of the auld lads were knocking great craic out of it. They’re on about organising a bus up, but I doubt they’ll do that.

“As soon as our game (against St John’s) was over their game still had ten minutes to go so I hopped into the shower and when I came out I heard that Michael Glaveys had won. I got a right good laugh and sent him a text, ‘See you soon’.”

Cummins marks 2017 down as difficult experience on the county stage with Galway. In that sense, the club has provided a welcome diversion.

Danny Cummins after scoring a goal Danny Cummins fired home a goal for Galway. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“Personally I had a bit of as stop-start year with Galway with injuries and that was frustrating. But I’ve really enjoyed the club football. I’ve a bit of a different role with the club, position-wise. I’m out and about.

“And obviously the old cliche of playing with your clubmates as well, it’s just right good craic.

“It’s easy to say that when you’re winning, but this is the most enjoyable year we’ve had with the club.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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