*Gearoid Kelly, Kevin Keane, Gearoid Cahill, Jamie Malone and Geraldine Cahll celebrate. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

GEAROID KELLY’s contribution of nine points was central to Corofin’s success in the Clare intermediate hurling championship.

Moments after winning a first intermediate hurling title, one to join the intermediate football medal he won in 2021, Gearoid revealed that he thought the opportunity of playing senior hurling would pass him by.

He told The Clare Echo, “It is complete relief, I’m a big hurling man myself and it was the one thing getting away from me, I’m thirty years of age now so I was hoping this wouldn’t be the one to elude me, we won the football a couple of years ago but this is massive relief”.

Lining out with Corofin’s first men’s side since he was seventeen, Gearoid missed just one of the ten frees he took over the hour in Saturday’s four point win against Sixmilebridge. “That is my job, the lads winning the frees are the ones working hard, there was savage pressure on us today and I thought our backs were immense, they were coming out with ball after ball and getting good ball into our forward. A good ball into the forwards gives you the chance to take on your man and that is where the frees came out of, there is a lot of other lads working hard to make me look good from the frees”.

On the football field, Corofin didn’t get the right bounce of the ball and ended up having to beat Clondegad in the relegation final to retain their senior status. This strengthened their resolve to forge a memorable year on the hurling field, Kelly said. “It showed savage character in our team, we have such a crossover with the football, I think we’ve twelve starters and with the subs it is more. It was an awful disheartening year with the football so for this team to hold together, we only lost one game this year in the hurling which shows the savage character in this team and I’ve no doubt when we go to senior next year that we will hold our own”.

Joe Cahill’s management team must take plaudits for their job, Gearoid pointed out. “I’m not saying there was anything wrong with previous managements but the new management put in place at the start of the year with Joe and Matthew, Pat Curtis and John Fitz with so many more in the background which bring a level of professionalism that we’ve never seen before, everyone is fighting for their place, nobody is guaranteed anything on this team so the trainings are as tough as matches”.

With plenty of potent finishers in attack such as Gearoid, Michael Kelly, Shane O’Brien and Diarmuid Cahill, it meant opposing defences had plenty of scorers to worry about nullifying. “Someone new was doing the damage everyday which was unreal, it means no team can go out and try (contain one man). Mikey was unbelievable the last day so they had to keep an eye on him and someone else was doing it today, it is just very hard for other teams because I think we’re very unpredictable, we’ve legs and are savage fit. I’m over the moon with how lads performed”.

Although he was praiseworthy over the supply of ball the Corofin forwards received from the back line, he was pressing wing-back Damian Ryan who runs Ó Ríain’s Bar in the North Clare village to be equally as generous when it came to beverages this week. “I’m telling you one thing if he doesn’t (provide a free bar), there will be hell to pay”.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

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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