*Corofin celebrate winning the Paddy Browne Cup. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography
A STRONG focus on underage development is paying dividends for Corofin.
These are very enjoyable times for the people of Corofin and Kilnaboy as the North Clare parish prepare for their first ever provincial hurling decider. Their followers will make the journey to the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick on this Saturday evening to support the club’s adult hurling team as they seek to capture the Munster intermediate championship title.
A noted dual performer for many years with his beloved club Michael Neylon believes that “the current bunch of players have demonstrated the fruits of the club’s attitude to underage development”.
He believes that the progress made by the hurlers is due to a number of factors including the “amalgamation with Ruan, the involvement with Clare development squads, Clare minors and under 20’s and the background of top of the range facilities and quality coaching. These have all contributed to where we now happily find ourselves, heading into playing the Cork champions in a Munster final”.
A leading dual player from his school days at St. Flannan’s College, the former Clare minor football manager has long been a believer in the importance of coaching. “In my time we used to yoyo up and down from junior or intermediate and our hope now is that we can stay at the top level and set a foundation for senior success”.
They are now one of four senior dual-clubs alongside Cratloe, Éire Óg and St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield. On the dual-demands, he said, “I wouldn’t overstate that. Look at the performances Cratloe and Eire Og have put in as dual clubs. As well a lot of clubs appear in one code but they are drawing a third of their players from the other code, it’s quite common now. Yes we are in the same boat as two or three other clubs in that most of our players are dual and, yes, it will be a challenge”.
Excitement levels are high in Corofin, he noted. “There is a great buzz throughout the parish. There is a great openness to and a desire for the continuation of the amalgamation and that should be seen as a positive. Players and all of us have enjoyed been able to attend county finals at A level with the prospect of success, particularly for the younger generation. When we set it up we saw it as a good breeding ground”.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s Munser final against Castlelyons from Cork, Neylon told The Clare Echo, “clubs are now travelling to such fixtures with confidence and that is down to the quality of the coaching that is available within the county. Every club aspires to great success”.