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Dublin: 4°C Tuesday 1 December 2020

'They’ve been incredible, they love playing football' - Corofin boss hails All-Ireland winners

Kevin O’Brien paid tributes to his players as they triumphed again in Croke Park.

A THIRD ALL-Ireland crown in five seasons and back-to-back titles completed for the first time.

The brilliance of Galway’s Corofin was showcased again yesterday in Croke Park as they proved themselves the masters of the senior club football stage once more.

Kieran Fitzgerald celebrates after the game with manager Kevin O'Brien and Ciaran McGrath Corofin boss Kevin O'Brien with Kieran Fitzgerald and Ciaran McGrath.

Manager Kevin O’Brien watched his players again storm to a final success by a double-digit margin and paid tribute to them in the aftermath.

“The lads played really. really well today. We knew coming up to this game, playing against Crokes, being champions two years ago, they showed us a lesson of football two years ago. 

“We played with great commitment today, we challenged very very hard for the ball. We threw our bodies on the line, and that’s excellent from a team that won an All-Ireland 12 months ago. They’re a great bunch and I’m absolutely delighted for them.

“They’ve been incredible. They love playing football and if they can play a game instead of training they’ll take the game every day.”

The input of Corofin’s older crew was referenced by O’Brien, the collection of veterans who still underpin their dominance.

Ciaran McGrath and Michael Lundy lift The Andy Merrigan Cup Joint captains Ciaran McGrath and Michael Lundy lift the Andy Merrigan Cup.

“Our team has matured, a lot of our younger players have got more experience. Fitzie (Kieran Fitzgerald) and Sicey (Gary Sice) were outstanding again today, Gizzy (Kieran McGrath) came in as well and did well.

“All the guys that came in added to it. Our overall group is stronger than in the past and that really helps. (They are) professionals playing an amateur sport. They do it week in week out and Fitzy and Sicey are outstanding in the way they do things and they are great leaders.

“It makes my job easy when you have lads 34 and 38 whatever they are. For young lads there are no excuses, you have just got to do it. These lads eat the right thing all the time, they go to the gym they do their yoga, they are a credit.”

Reflecting on their campaign, O’Brien recalled their fortuitous escape to claim a draw in the Galway county final and how their campaign took off in another direction after that.

“The county final, we got a rude awakening that day and were probably lucky to get away with it but then we played well in Connacht semi-final. I just think that you’ll always get an off day when you’re so long on the road and that was our off day.

“(There’s) an element of a lot of the guys in Galway know each other very well and they play each against each other in schools. The last few years in Galway you play a lot of the teams, particularly the way the format is now at the same time.

“Once you get out of Galway and you’re Connacht champions, you get a new lease of life going into the Connacht championship. Once you’re Connacht champions you are only one game away from Croke Park.”

Corofin celebrate Corofin players celebrate their latest All-Ireland title success.

O’Brien admitted that deciding whether to remain on at the helm of Corofin will not ‘be an easy decision’.

“It’s a great place to be and when I stop being manager of Corofin it’ll be a hard decision. You’ve family and work and there’s an awful lot of commitment.

“Thankfully it’s gone from being a three- or four-month job into a 12-month job for the past six years – being part of management – so we’ll reflect on that in the coming days. That won’t be an easy decision when it comes.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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