St Gall’s out to turn up the pressure on Corofin
Success breeds success — but it can also impose enormous physical and psychological pressures on players.
A week after enduring the heartbreak of defeat in the All Ireland Intermediate Club Hurling final against St Lachtain’s (Kilkenny), a quintet of St Gall’s players are preparing for yet another massive challenge this weekend.
Aodhan Gallagher, Sean Burke and Anto Healy along with the McGourty brothers Kieran and CJ are certain starters for Sunday’s All Ireland Club football semi-final against Galway and Connacht champions Corofin at Parnell Park, Dublin (2.30).
And it’s how these players in particular respond to the demands of the occasion that could ultimately determine whether or not St Gall’s make it into the St Patrick’s Day decider against Munster champions Kilmurray/ Ibrickane or Leinster standard-bearers Portlaoise.
The cloud of gloom that enveloped the St Gall’s impressive headquarters at Milltown on the Falls Road in the wake of Sunday’s hurling final setback has now lifted and is being replaced by a fresh wave of optimism as the spotlight is fixed on the football semi-final.
In winning their Antrim and Ulster club titles St Gall’s revealed high levels of energy, flair and finishing power but manager Lenny Harbinson is aware that Corofin will provide a severe test of his team’s mental strength and bodily stamina.
“We are coming up against a Corofin team containing at least four experienced Galway county players — a team that contains vast experience overall.
“But then these are kind of teams against which you must measure yourself if you wish to obtain the ultimate success,” says former Antrim ace Harbinson.
Unlike St Gall’s who have found themselves pursuing titles at different levels in both hurling and football and who have had injury worries of late, Corofin have remained totally focused on Sunday’s mission.
It is understood that none of their players have been involved with university or colleges sides in January while Galway manager Joe Kernan has yet this year to gain sight of the players from his squad who are with the club. Corofin officials, indeed, make it abundantly clear that the All Ireland title is their avowed goal.