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*Corofin star man, Jamie Malone. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Jamie Malone has been one of Clare’s leading footballers since making his senior debut in 2014, his displays have earned him an All-Star nomination but it will be with his club Corofin that he makes his first Munster final appearance.

An ankle injury sustained during Clare’s opening round of the 2020 Allianz National Football League surprisingly kept Jamie out of action until October with Corofin’s semi-final with O’Currys marking his return to the field of play while he missed the entirety of the championship for his club’s intermediate hurling team.

Reflecting on their campaign to date, he told The Clare Echo, “it’s been a great year for us so far. One of the best days we have had was winning the championship in Cusack park and then having our first game in Munster at home here in Corofin and following that up with the semi-final win, they were super days. Playing with Clare we have been striving to get to a Munster final. I always believed it would happen but I didn’t think that my first Munster final would be with Corofin. In a way it has come out of nowhere but we are delighted to be there and we want to win it and get over the line”.

Losing the Clare IFC final to St Josephs Doora/Barefield in 2020 has been a driving force for Corofin, he flagged. “The disappointment we had last year was something that did drive us on this year. Momentum is behind us and you can’t beat winning for any squad”.

A striking aspect of their displays in Jamie’s opinion is how Corofin have finished. “A game is not over till you are in the dressing room. We finished strongly in all the games this year. We left it very late against Kildysart, it was the last quarter here against Kildimo and it was the last quarter the last day as well. We have been finishing well. That’s something that let us down last year. We fell away in the second half of the county final last year against Barefield. You need to be playing for sixty minutes and it’s going to take another 60 to 65 minute performance on Sunday against Na Gael”.

Playing both hurling and football creates a stronger connection among the panelists, the Dublin based teacher believed. “There is no pressure on anyone to play hurling or football, Everyone that is playing in Corofin wants to play. It’s coming from themselves. The majority of us are part of both squads, it creates a great bond between us. We enjoy doing it. Anytime something goes wrong it’s easy for people to say the dual thing is hard to do. The lads had a very successful U21 hurling campaign and a very successful intermediate football campaign. We were unlucky with the intermediate hurling, we had a bad performance in the quarter final and that’s what cost us. We could easily have ended up in the semi-final or final. It wasn’t anything to do with the dual thing, it was just a bad on the day performance. It’s an easy thing to do to blame things on the dual involvement but when you are winning everyone thinks it’s great. We all enjoy doing it, we all want to represent Corofin at hurling and football. We have a great group of lads who have boosted things in both codes and hopefully they will continue to do so”.

Kerry’s success at the grade does not faze Malone. “Kerry teams are always going to be strong in this championship but Na Gaeil didn’t win all the Munster titles. There are fifteen of them and fifteen of us. We are playing on Sunday against another team. We have prepared really well and we are going to give it our best shot. We are happy with how things are going. Hopefully I will be training with Corofin next week and that is something I look forward to doing no matter how bad the conditions might be”.

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