Joe Kernan: Keeping my eye on both teams
I will find myself between a rock and a hard place when newly-crowned Ulster Club football champions St Gall’s meet Connacht title-holders Corofin in the All Ireland Club semi-final on February 22.
While I am anxious to see St Gall’s carry the flag for Ulster in fine style, I will also be keeping an eye on three Corofin players — Gary Sice, Alan Burke and Damien Burke — all of whom are members of my current Galway squad.
Sadly, Kieran Fitzgerald, who won an All Ireland medal with Galway in 2001 when John O’Mahony was team manager, may not be available for Corofin as he is recovering from a serious hamstring injury although given that there is almost three months to go to the game he might just make it. At 29, Kieran has a wealth of experience which I would be keen to deploy for Galway but only when he is fully fit.
Whether they like it or not, the St Gall’s consistency to date has earned them the favourites label for the All Ireland club crown. They had a 10-point winning margin over Clontibret in the Ulster semi-final and then emerged with an 11-point victory over Loup in the decider last Sunday.
You simply cannot argue with these emphatic results — they really underpin the St Gall’s scoring power and their positive approach to every game. They have super fitness with players prepared to run all day if it means ultimately wearing down opponents.
Aodhan Gallagher, Sean Burke, Kevin McGourty and Anto Healy are players who seem to be in almost perpetual motion for the Antrim and Ulster champions.
It’s worth pointing out that several of the St Gall’s players have been engaged in both football and hurling this year.
I would like to think that maybe St Gall’s will make it into the All Ireland Club football final and that my Galway lads will at the same time step up smartly to the mark for Corofin.
Or is that a bit like having your cake and eating it?