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Dublin: 8 °C Friday 18 October, 2019
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'It's a headache' - Galway champs face financial challenge of second London trip in 6 weeks

Corofin are heading back to the English capital this Sunday.

Corofin players before last year's Connacht senior club final against Castlebar Mitchels.
Corofin players before last year's Connacht senior club final against Castlebar Mitchels.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

HEAVY SNOW FORCED the postponement of Corofin’s All-Ireland quarter-final date in London in December and the New Year has brought about a financial challenge for the Galway champions ahead of the rescheduled game next Sunday.

The club have yet to receive financial assistance from the GAA to help cover the costs of making a second trip in six weeks to the English capital but remain hopeful they will be helped.

The Corofin team and management are due to fly from Shannon Airport on Saturday afternoon before the clash with Fulham Irish on Sunday in Ruislip.

“From a club point of view it’s expensive because we’re left with the debt,” stated Corofin chairman Michael Ryder.

“The first trip cost over €21,000. They (Croke Park) gave us assistance on that as they do any other club in the country that travels.

“The Cork team (Kanturk) were over there beforehand in the intermediate. They got the same allocation of €14,000, same as us.”

“There was to be a (GAA) financial meeting in the week or two leading up to Christmas after our game was (postponed). That didn’t take place. So it’s now not on until the 25th of January, so we don’t know where we stand.

“Are we going to get assistance with the second trip in full? Or are we going to get €14,000 plus an extra contribution? Hopefully they will look in favour of (us). Listen a club can only suffer this once and that the second time (they’d) cover it. We’d be hoping.

“It’s a headache. We have to come up with the money now. The hotel got paid in advance, they won’t take it otherwise. Aer Lingus will have to get paid as well naturally enough. We’ve our booking done with three weeks.”

After the postponement on 10 December, the 2015 All-Ireland club champions had to change their preparations and target Sunday’s clash. The prize on offer is an All-Ireland semi-final meeting against Kildare champions Moorefield on 17 February.

But bad weather in the London area is a concern before this re-fixture.

“Hopefully the weather will go in our favour,” says Ryder.

“The weather is not good in England at the moment. It is a concern. I’m getting phone calls that the weather is not promised to be good. I don’t know what would happen if that happened again.

“The snow didn’t come down until half seven in the morning the last time. We were going to bed around twelve or one o’clock and it was a perfect night. These things happen.

“We couldn’t organise a Saturday game (for this weekend). Croke Park asked us would we play on Saturday or Sunday. We had to get a fixed date on it so we picked the Sunday. Guys cannot get the time off Friday.”

Corofin do have experience of plotting cross-channel trips after previously facing quarter-final ties against Tír Chonaill Gaels in January 2009 and December 2014.

“This is my fourth time organising (a) London (trip) as we were there before,” says Ryder.

“I’m involved with the club since 1990 on the committee. We’re very lucky that we have a great travel agents in Grogans here in Tuam so we travel with Aer Lingus.

“For this game it was just about getting the names again, make sure everyone is going , passports and all of that. We leave the match to the players and me and the secretary and the treasurer – John Raftery and Jim McHugh – we deal with the club side of it preparing hotels, meals and buses here and beyond.

“We’ll leave from Shannon (on Saturday evening), we head down and we’ve a coach over to pick us up to go to the hotel. We’re staying in London Ealing. We’ve a coach to pick us up over. Preparations have gone well.”

This is the eighth time that Corofin have emerged from Connacht to compete in the All-Ireland series and they will have a loyal band of supporters on board set to make the return trip to London.

“We should have about 40 or 50 (supporters) that will travel again a second time,” says Ryder.

“It cost them about €400 per person the last time. It’s rough enough on them when they have to get accommodation and flights. Now some of them get cheap flights but if you travel Sunday morning with Aer Lingus it’s hefty enough.

“It’s not easy on them and wanting to support their club. You feel sorry for them but we have loyal supporters that’ll go to every match whether it’s a league match or a challenge match. Every club has them.”

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

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Fintan O'Toole

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