The eagerly awaited All-Ireland Club Football Quarter Final between London champions Tir Chonaill Gaels and Galway and Connacht AIB club champions Corofin will be broadcast on Irish TV on SKY 191 this coming Sunday, December 14th from 6-8pm.
London champions Tir Chonaill Gaels aim to make a breakthrough this coming Sunday when they take on Corofin of Galway, the Connacht champions at 1pm at Ruislip. Tir Chonaill Gaels will be looking to make it to the semi-finals of the All-Ireland club championship, something they have been unable to do in their last fourteen outings in the competition, including their 2008 quarter-final against the same opposition which ended in victory for the Galway team.
Speaking to The Irish World, manager Barney Breen is quick to say that history will have no bearing come Sunday: “From what I know, no London club has ever broke the deadlock really of beating a team from Ireland at this stage.
“In recent years, there have been close encounters not least with last year and the Kingdom and Ballinderry so although we have great traditions of competing and bringing teams close, obviously no team has broken the deadlock.
“There’s very little expectation of us. We’re not hung up on anything like that, that’s history. This team has never played before in an All-Ireland club quarter-final so there’s no baggage, there’s no history with them. They’re a great bunch of lads.
“We’ve prepared very hard. We’re looking very forward to the game but we know what’s ahead of us.”
Corofin have looked unstoppable all the way to their Connacht final win over Ballintubber. They have scored 18 goals in their campaign so far including seven against Aughawilliam. Unsurprisingly, they are overwhelming favourites to win this contest in Ruislip.
“Corofin have been very, very impressive on the campaign but nonetheless we’re looking forward to it. It’s very easy to be negative and say ‘we haven’t a hope’ but if we say that then we haven’t a hope, but there’s always a hope. The bookies have us as real outsiders and we’re aware of that but there’s always a chance. Every couple of years, there’s an upset. That’s what sport’s all about. It’s about upsets and we’re looking to cause an upset.”
It was two early goals that were the demise of Tir Chonaill Gaels in the team’s 2008 match and Barney points out a good start here is all important if Tir Chonaill Gaels are to pull off an upset: “A good start is everything.
“They’re saying: ‘Let’s get a good start against these lads, let’s crush any hopes they have early on and hope they fall over’. We know that’s what they’ll be planning to do. We have to be prepared for that. It’s the old cliché: The longer you’re in the game, the better chance you have of winning it. We need to go into half-time well in the game and if we keep frustrating them, that’s the main thing. If we don’t have a good start, it’s lights out. Simple as that.”
Michael Lundy was playing at Ruisip last summer when Galway ended London’s hopes of a second successive Connacht final. Corofin also have the services of Greg Higgins, a substitute that day, and Gary Sice who was omitted from Galway’s championship campaign but returned with fresh hunger.
“They’re all a threat, every single one of them a threat. I’m not singling out one guy. I can’t.
“We’ve great footballers, we’ve a great bunch of lads and individually I think we’re every bit as good as them so it’s up to our lads to get grips with each individual. Every one of our team has a job to do and if we do the job that we’re meant to do, we’re in with a shout.”
Tir Chonaill Gaels and Corofin met at this same stage of the competition back in the 2008/09 season. It was the London side that came off on the wrong side of a 2-07 to 0-06 score-line at Ruislip. Tir Chonaill Gaels manager Paul Coggins and his team had been looking to improve of their performance of the previous year when they were eliminated at the quarter-final stage by Crossmaglen Rangers but early goals from Greg Higgins and Aidan Donnellan knocked the stuffing out of the London team who were never going to catch the Galway team given such a head start. Kevin Downes was accurate for TCG, mostly from frees but apart from Downes’ five scores, it was only Ciaran McHugh who was able to score.
Among those to survive from that Corofin team to play in the Connacht final are Gary Delaney, Kieran Fitzgerald, Kieran McGrath, Alan Burke, Damien Burke, Greg Higgins and Joe Canney.
Later in 2009, Tir Chonaill Gaels retained their London championship and had their involvement in the further competition ended by Kilmurry Ibrickane of Clare. When the Greenford club became champions of London again in 2012, it was Dr Crokes of Kerry that were too strong for them, coming out with a 3-12 to 0-6 victory in Ruislip.
Irish TV’s coverage will include expert commentary and analysis from London manager Paul Coggins.
Commenting ahead of the broadcast Chairperson of London GAA Noel O’Sullivan said he was thrilled that Irish TV had once again committed to showcasing the wonderful efforts of all GAA clubs in London.
“We have worked closely with Irish TV over the past year and their commitment to covering all aspects of the GAA in the UK should be highly commended. We got a phenomenal reaction to Irish TV’s coverage of the London Senior County hurling and football finals earlier in the year and it just shows what can be achieved when we work together. 2014 has been a good year for London GAA and everyone is looking forward to building on that success now. On behalf of all the clubs in London I would like to wish Tir Chonaill Gaels all the best on Sunday. It will take a mammoth effort from everyone involved to topple Corofin. I know from talking to those involved with Tir Chonaill Gaels that the team will be ready for the battle on Sunday,” he said.
Tir Chonaill Gaels Chairperson Tom Mohan said the club were thrilled that the game will be broadcast on Irish TV on SKY 191. “The coverage is great for our club but it will also mean so much to all the loyal GAA supporters in London and in the UK that cannot get to the game on the day. The broadcast will also give recognition to all the volunteers that promote the GAA overseas,” he said.
Irish TV CEO Pierce O’Reilly said the broadcast would be a fitting finale to a wonderful year for all the GAA clubs and supporters in London and across the UK. “People at home in Ireland do not realise the passion, interest and commitment of GAA clubs in London and further afield. We are delighted to be shining a spotlight on these wonderful ambassadors of Gaelic Games and we hope that in our coverage of the GAA in the UK will raise the profile of the game everywhere,” commented O’Reilly.
The AIB All-Ireland Club Quarter Final between Tir Chonaill Gaels and Corofin will be broadcast on Irish TV on SKY 191 from 6pm with expert commentary from Ollie Turner from Galway Bay FM with London senior football manager Paul Coggins and former Galway and Corofin All-Ireland winner Ray Silke on analysis. Viewers in Ireland and the UK can watch the deferred coverage on the Irish TV channel on SKY 191, Freesat 400, All Free to Air Boxes, Eircom’s eVision 191 and online on www.irishtv.com.