*Joe Cahill. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

SUCCESS AT MINOR and U21 level has left Corofin’s hurlers ambitious to prove their worth at the senior grade, to get there they must overcome the challenge of Sixmilebridge on Saturday.

Corofin manager Joe Cahill got involved in coaching because he wanted “to put something back into the club where he got so much enjoyment as a player”.

A couple of years after he called time on his playing career in the mid 2000’s he answered the call and started working with a bunch of six to eight year olds. A few years later he was in charge when Corofin won the under 13 A hurling title becoming the first team from the club to win an A championship.

“We beat Inagh/Kilnamona in that final and eight of those players will be involved on Saturday. We went on to win the Division 4 All-Ireland Féile title a short time later. We then joined up with our neighbours Ruan and we won the under 16 A championship, beating Sixmilebridge in the final”.

Two minor A titles followed and an U21 A crown just two seasons ago with the current Corofin intermediate manager playing a central role in the management of all those teams.

Success was achieved this year when Corofin claimed the Division 2 title in the league. “We needed to create depth in the panel. We had five or six long term injuries during the league, injuries to key players, and as a result we had to find new players for the league while these guys were given time to recover. Our hands were forced because those players were ruled out. We won the league and in the process found that depth which has served us well”, Cahill explained.

As they complete preparations for Saturday’s final, there are concerns about the fitness of Killian O’Connor and Shane O’Brien and a final decision on whether or not they will play a part in the final won’t be made until nearer match time.

Two of the players who missed the league campaign are Diarmuid Cahill and the experienced Jamie Malone both of whom have recovered from the injuries which kept them out of action for much of the league.

Looking ahead to the final the Corofin boss noted “Bodyke and Tulla had aspirations to win this championship and the Bridge turned both over. They are a good team with four or five who have played at senior level and who have massive experience”.

Asked if it has been difficult to manage a squad that includes so many dual players he replied, “the key has been to talk to the players as to how they felt week in week out. We are a dual club and we have to embrace that and we have done that. We have to be fair to the players and create a balance between both. The dual players have played in the region of twenty eight competitive games to date this season and this can be taxing”.

Joe believes “it would be massive to be a dual senior club. The week after our victory over Clondegad to retain our senior football status, there was a tremendous bounce in training. We now want to take the next step in hurling and join the footballers at senior level”.

The manager also believes that the club has benefitted from having players in Clare panels “In 2017 we had five players on the Clare minor hurling panel. We have always had players on county panels and this is brilliant as they raise the standard in the club when they come back. They demand a high standard”.

Concluding he says there is excitement in the parish. “The schools are embracing our progress. The colours are appearing throughout the village and parish and all eyes are on Cusack Park this week”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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