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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 20 August, 2019
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Will Mayo want this All-Ireland club football winning manager back?

Stephen Rochford’s reputation is on the rise after Tuesday’s victory with Corofin.

Corofin boss Stephen Rochford.
Corofin boss Stephen Rochford.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

STEPHEN ROCHFORD DELIVERED All-Ireland club glory for Corofin on Tuesday but one of the Galway club’s key players suspects that a role with his native Mayo may be in the offing.

Rochford became the first person to win All-Ireland senior club titles as a player and manager with two different clubs. He won with his native Crossmolina as a player in 2001 before Corofin saw off Derry’s Slaughtneil in this year’s decider.

Rochford applied to become Mayo U21 manager in 2012 but didn’t get the role and was subsequently approached by Corofin. He’s won back-to-back Galway county titles in 2013 and 2014 with the club, a Connacht crown last November and then the All-Ireland success this week.

Long-serving defender Kieran Fitzgerald has heaped praise upon the Corofin boss.

“He’s a cool customer now. He doesn’t get too excited. We were lucky to get him. It was thanks to David Morris and Jimmy Sice that (we) poached him really. We were as prepared as I ever saw a team prepared.

“I have been involved with great managers, Peter Forde, John O’Mahony and those, but I tell you no team were as prepared as we were. We knew Slaughtneil inside out. There was no stone left unturned. It was basically up to us to perform. They could do no more.

“I would imagine Mayo will be looking for that guy back, sooner rather than later. Whether we can hold onto him now I have my doubts, but he has been super for us and he owes us nothing.”

This club win was one for Fitzgerald to savour. In 2001, he won an All-Ireland senior football medal with Galway as a youngster but remarkably didn’t win a game at Croke Park until last Tuesday.

“I haven’t been involved in a winning team at Croke Park since 01. The stats are poor. I played two league finals against Kerry up here. I think I played a quarter-final against Cork, maybe eight times I’d say we have lost since.

Kieran Fitzgerald and Martin Farragher celebrate at the end of the game Kieran Fitzgerald (left) celebrates Corofin's victory on Tuesday. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“I love playing in Croke Park but it hasn’t been a happy hunting ground since 2001 but this is something special. I was 20 when we won in 2001. All I did was got on the ride. playing football with the likes of Michael Donnellan, Sean Og de Paor, Declan Meehan, Kevin Walsh and those guys. They carried me along.

“I was young then and didn’t really appreciate it as much. This is really special. The last 24 months, the effort those boys have put in, some of the trainings have been absolutely savage, but there have been no arguments, they did it. We all had one focus, to get an All-Ireland club medal.”

Ray Magee and Kieran Fitzgerald Kieran Fitzgerald (right) in action for Galway in the 2001 All-Ireland final. Source: INPHO

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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