Nemo and Cronin need only look at Fitzgerald to see what is needed

Nemo and Cronin need only look at Fitzgerald to see what is needed
Nemo Ranger's Mark CroninMandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

WHILE Nemo Rangers were defending at one end of the Cusack Park pitch a week ago, a snap-shot of Kieran Fitzgerald and Mark Cronin at the other captured one of the main differences between Corofin and the Cork and Munster champions.

The pair are polar opposites in terms of their careers, the Galway full-back just turning 39 with Cronin celebrating his 21st birthday this year.

For the second time in three seasons, Corofin had Nemo's measure as they remain on course for a history-making third All-Ireland club title on the spin.

But, it hasn't always been thus for the veteran Fitzgerald, who has had to overcome a lot of personal tragedy in his life never mind losing football games.

Indeed, you could draw a comparison between Corofin of over a decade ago to Nemo's present plight.

Back then, Corofin managed to steer successful courses through the Galway and Connacht championships, but couldn't take the next step and qualify for the All-Ireland final.

It was a point touched on by Fitzgerald after Corofin's 1-10 to 0-7 triumph, which sets up a decider against Kilcoo of Down tomorrow week at Croke Park.

“Getting over the semi-final is the hardest. I saw that side of 10 years ago and it was something I thought about coming down on the bus,” he said.

Fitzgerald togged out for his seventh national semi-final, having tasted the bitter taste of defeat in the first three before experiencing the other side in more recent outings.

“We were perennial under-achievers, winning Connacht finals and then losing to better teams, Crossmaglen Rangers, Kilmacud Croke's and St Gall's.

“We probably didn't have that belief either, that we were good enough to defeat those teams.

“Something happened in 2014. Stephen Rochford started it and this particular group of players came together. We are moving on.” Of course, nobody in their right minds is suggesting Nemo under-achieve, their record in Cork, Munster and All-Irelands is clear for all to see and appreciate.

But, Corofin appear to have the Indian Sign on them right now, though the gap is closing.

Alan Cronin of Nemo Rangers in action against Martin Farragher of Corofin during the AIB GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Club Championship semi-final match between Corofin and Nemo Rangers at Cusack Park in Ennis, Clare. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Alan Cronin of Nemo Rangers in action against Martin Farragher of Corofin during the AIB GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Club Championship semi-final match between Corofin and Nemo Rangers at Cusack Park in Ennis, Clare. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Nemo only need to look at Fitzgerald as a leading example of perseverance and sticking at it until the tide turns, as it will inevitably.

The switch in dates didn't appeal to everyone, but the long-striding full-back gave it the thumbs up.

“I was delighted, when it was moved. Christmas was tough, no doubt about that, but the reward was there for us and we can knuckle down for an All-Ireland final.

“We had hard training over Christmas, like St Stephen's Day for example, and every two days throughout the holidays. That's the way, it had to be.

“The perfect scenario, ideally, when it is all moved to the other side of Christmas, though I accept you can't do it all in one big jump,” he added.

Meanwhile, Sport Psychologist Canice Kennedy is organising a 10-week course at Douglas Community School on the psychology of sports performance.

Enrolment takes place at the Adult Education Office in the school or the enrolment night on Wednesday.

It costs €90 and the course starts on Monday, January 27, between 8-9.30 pm.

FIXTURES: SATURDAY: Sigerson Cup R1: Queens v TU Dublin City, The Dub, 2pm.

McGrath Cup final: Limerick v Cork, LIT Gaelic Grounds, 5.30.

Munster Hurling League final: Limerick v Cork, LIT Gaelic Grounds, 7.30. Penalty shoot-out in both if level after normal time.

John Kerins Cup: Cork v Galway, Mallow, 7pm.

All-Ireland club intermediate football semi-finals: Mattock Rangers (Louth) v Magheracloone (Monaghan), Crossmaglen, 1.30; Oughterard (Galway) v Templenoe (Kerry), Kilmallock, 2pm.

All-Ireland club junior football semi-finals: Kilmaine (Mayo) v Na Gaeil (Kerry), Cusack Park, Ennis, 1.30; Rathgarogue-Cushinstown (Wexford) v Blackhill (Monaghan), Newbridge, 1.30.

SUNDAY: Sigerson Cup R1: (First teams at home): Maynooth v St Mary's; Athlone IT v Letterkenny IT; IT Sligo v UL; IT Tralee v IT Carlow; all 2pm; UCD v UU, Belfield, 2.15; DCU Dóchas Éireann v Garda College, 3pm; NUIG v UCC, 4pm.

Fitzgibbon Cup: Group C: NUIG v UCC, 2pm; Group A: DCU Dóchas Eireann v UL, 1pm; Trinity College v Maynooth, 2pm; Group B: Limerick IT v Waterford IT, 2pm; TU Dublin v Mary Immaculate College, 2pm; Group D: UCD v IT Carlow, 12.30.

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