Healion hints Corbett comments were well heeded
Kilcormac-Killoughey's Ger Healion at Croke Park yesterday.
All four AIB All-Ireland club finalists were outsiders going into last month’s semi-finals but the longest odds of the lot were Offaly hurling champions Kilcormac-Killoughey, who negotiated Thurles Sarsfields and a price of 5 to 2 against.
Yet Kilcormac won convincingly and can be forgiven for believing complacency played a role in their highly-fancied opponents’ downfall.
The team’s full-back, inter-county player Ger Healion, has revealed, for instance, he was surprised at the attitude of the favourites’ 2010 hurler of the year Lar Corbett, who had travelled to Breezy Point in New York to assist with volunteer construction work in the area devastated by last year’s super-storm Sandy, in the days before the match.
“I was, like, ‘What sort of preparation was that for any sort of game?’ I said to myself, ‘I don’t know how a manager could let him go, never mind to let himself go’. It is not the way to be preparing for a game. Any flight is going to affect a person for four to five days, your sleep patterns, everything. It was a bit of a shock. Again, it was their confidence that they thought that didn’t have to perform that well for us and maybe it showed in the way that they played on the day.”
Healion said Corbett’s trip hadn’t been used as overt motivation but said that publicity attaching to the events of the week as well as comments made by Corbett in interview about the unsuitability of February for hurling were duly noted by the Offaly club.
“Well, it was never mentioned in the dressingroom but like that it was so publicised and didn’t he win the Lotto the same week (a rumour to that effect had swept the country)? If anything else happened, if there was a dead horse in Thurles, he would have been blamed for it as well because, as he said himself, horses wouldn’t play in some of the conditions that we do.
“Again, I think he brought an awful lot of publicity on himself that he would have been better off without.”
Healion acknowledged he had himself been on a short booked holiday to Dubai before the Leinster championship began but said he’d returned five days in advance of the match with Carlow champions Mount Leinster Rangers.
Meanwhile, a clash of jersey colours in the club football final on St Patrick’s Day will be resolved. Both St Brigid’s and Ballymun Kickhams wear similar red and green kit but for the final the Roscommon side will wear a green jersey and white shorts whereas the Dublin club will have red shorts and a predominantly red jersey with a thin green hoop.
Ger Healion was speaking at a launch to announce that in celebration of the club finals being an official event of The Gathering Ireland 2013, sponsors AIB and the GAA will pledge funds to each of this year’s AIB GAA football and hurling finalists to allow them to bring someone home to Croke Park for St Patrick’s Day.