BE PART OF THE TEAM

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 5°C Wednesday 3 March 2021
Advertisement

'I am 39 just gone and I am lucky to be part of this team, they are dragging me along at this stage'

39-year-old Kieran Fitzgerald is set for another All-Ireland club final.

Michael Farragher and Kieran Fitzgerald celebrate after their victory over Nemo Rangers.
Michael Farragher and Kieran Fitzgerald celebrate after their victory over Nemo Rangers.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

KIERAN FITZGERALD WAS heading to Ennis on Saturday morning when he started considering his run of All-Ireland club semi-finals.

His record with Corofin may make for impressive reading now but there was a time when the national series was the site of disappointment and frustration.

Saturday’s victory over Nemo followed up similarly good days at that juncture with the club in Tullamore (2015 and 2018) and Carrick-on-Shannon (2019).

But Fitzgerald has been around long enough to have had a front-row view when Corofin’s hopes were scuppered in Mullingar (2009), Parnell Park (2010) and the Gaelic Grounds (2017).

“I thought about it coming down in the bus. This is seventh All-Ireland semi-final and my first two were defeats. We were perennial under-achievers winning Connacht finals and then getting beat by better teams, Kilmacud and Galls.

“We probably didn’t have the belief either that we were good enough to defeat those teams. Something happened in 2014, Stephen Rochford started it and this particular group of players came together. We are moving on.”

It’s just shy of two decades since Fitzgerald was gracing Croke Park in Galway colours, sharing in Sam Maguire glory as a teenager and collecting an All-Star at the season’s end.

Yet he continues to endure, a defensive cornerstone on Saturday as Corofin snuffed out Nemo’s attacking threats. Fitzgerald heaps praise on those around him in facilitating his capacity to perform at this level.

“They are super, they are so ambitious. They love football. They work really hard and they love training. They turn up every second day, as do other teams as well. But these guys’ application to it. They are dedicated to their craft. They just bring such energy to training.

“I said it loads of times. I am 39 just gone and I am lucky to be part of this team. They are dragging me along at this stage. If I was with another club maybe I would be retired five or six years ago but to be playing with this particular group of players is something special. Just delighted to be back in an All-Ireland (final).”

Fitzgerald is happy to have seen a shift in the All-Ireland club calendar.

“I said last year playing it on St Patrick’s Day, (it was) such a slog over Christmas and into January. I was delighted when it was moved. Get it the other side of Christmas is the key.

Be part
of the team

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership.

Become a Member

“Maybe in two years’ time it will be that way. Christmas was tough this year but the reward was (Saturday) and we are there now. We can enjoy this and knuckle down for an All-Ireland final.

“It was very close to Christmas and we were training St Stephen’s Day and every two days throughout the Christmas. But that is the way it was this year. Ideally when it is all moved over the other side of Christmas that will be the perfect scenario. But you didn’t want to do it in one big jump. But we are there.”

The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

Read next:

COMMENTS (3)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel