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Corofin Manager Joe Cahill. Photograph by Natasha Barton

‘We have forged a bond’ – Cahill

Every club team left standing in competitions across the land has battled a hectic fixture list but few if any will have dealt with the congestion that Corofin have.
A dual club who will now see their flagship sides both operate in the top tier next year have had to work extremely hard to enjoy that right.
Such a demanding run of games in both codes can fatigue a team, but it can also empower an outfit when they accomplish their goal. With Corofin’s footballers coming through a relegation final win over Clondegad, the focus is on the small ball code as the North Clare club enter a Munster Intermediate Hurling final with Castlelyons, Saturday at the Gaelic Grounds (throw in 6pm).
Corofin manager Joe Cahill feels the dual status of the club has helped forge a bond within this group of players: “The club has been a while doing both codes together, so it is not new. We have 11 dual players, and they would be 11 starters so there is a good bond there. The age profile of our squad is really interesting. There would be a share that would be 22 and under and then a big jump to guys aged 29, 30 and 31.”
“We are getting to know each other better all the time and they are getting to know each other more outside of training too. They would meet up themselves and we can see the young guys and the older ones are gelling together all the time. We didn’t do bonding weekends. We had no time to do that. They have bonded on the pitch, and it has worked so far.”
For much of the young crop who have come through the ranks, success is not a strange sensation. When they were amalgamated with Ruan which led to their Minor A and U-21A successes in 2019 and 2021, Corofin have become accustomed to competing and beating the top guns.
After working with a decent cohort of this group since they were 10 years of age, Cahill decided to take a leap of faith and manage Corofin’s flagship side. The club’s recent experience of beating established forces combined with his own drive to improve standards has become a winning formula.
“I would have been involved with some of the underage success. A lot of the players aged 28, 29 and 30 would have looked at me. I felt duty bound. I got a good management team in place. Matt Shannon has made a difference. I have been with some since they were 10 years of age, so a fresh voice was needed. It has worked well. Not too many came forward, so I was delighted to be asked to do it.”
The Corofin boss has managed to secure silverware alongside his own two sons Gearoid and Diarmuid.
Although securing a Munster crown with family is no doubt be a momentous occasion, Cahill states there was and still is no difficulty in coaching his two sons.
“We would often talk hurling and it might not even be about ourselves. I have worked with them at underage and starting out I would have coached the U-6 team. We have a good quality set up and everyone knows they need to produce if they want to hold onto that jersey. At times I am tough on them, but they get praise too. There is never any issue.”
With Corofin unbeaten in their nine Championship games to date, there are plenty of moments which stand out in a memorable year for the club.
The obvious would be beating Sixmilebridge to secure their third Intermediate crown while progressing through to the Munster final after victories over Lorrha Dorrha and Dromin-Athlacca. However, Cahill’s first point of reference is not the Championship at all.
“I suppose going out and playing the league campaign was big because we had four or five on county squads. Then there were one or two long term injuries. We were down five or six but it gave an opportunity to somebody else. We realised players were up to the standard. We knew injuries would happen but finding that depth was a highlight. We were able to compete at a high level and win the Clare Intermediate Hurling Championship. That is where we wanted to do at the outset.”
A winning team will generate support but for those supporting the men in red and white, these are exciting times.
A second Munster Intermediate club final in three years awaits, after the footballers progressed through to a provincial decider in 2021. Their run has captured the imagination as many from the North Clare club and surrounding areas will descend on Limerick in the hopes of seeing Corofin claim a momentous win.
Cahill feels his side have instilled further pride in the jersey along this run but feels his side will not be overawed by the build up.
“The one thing I will say is that some of the guys are working away from Corofin. They are not in contact with people day to day. The game against Dromin-Athlacca was a special day for them. We had a large vocal following which can create pressure. We were a small bit back that day from what we had produced before.”
“There is a massive buzz around. Everyone wants to talk sport during the year but especially now. When you win everyone wants to start following you. They are great ambassadors. The first team meeting we said we wanted people to follow us. I think we have achieved that.”

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