Tuam Stars bow out of championship to dominant Corofin

The word going into Tuam Stadium last Sunday afternoon from all and sundry in a big crowd was that Tuam Stars were really going to put it up to Corofin, and try to derail their objective of winning four county titles in succession.

The Stars, under the management of the experienced Alan Flynn, had worked really hard all season and played some high-quality challenges over the past few weeks in preparation for this quarter-final.

Unfortunately for Tuam they did not have enough quality around the field to stop a well-organised, smooth and powerful Corofin outfit, under the guidance of Kevin O'Brien.

Tuam had a really strong wind at their backs in the first half, but they only led by a single point, 0-7 to 1-3, at half time, and that was never going to be enough to keep the current county champions at bay when they had the elements behind them.

It took a few early frees from Shane Curtin for them to make any real inroads on the well-drilled Corofin rearguard that had both Kieran Fitzgerald and Liam Silke back from injury.

Corofin's measured calmness in possession all over the field, which has been built on the last decade of success, makes them a difficult team to dispossess.

The likes of Ciaran McGrath, Cathal Silke and young Kieran Molloy, who has a blistering turn of pace, never allowed the Tuam forwards to get into their stride. County goalkeeper Bernard Power was impressive too and kicked a gorgeous '45 into the teeth of the wind and still sailed the O'Neills over Johnny Trayer's crossbar.

Conor Doherty worked hard and made a few bursts for Tuam, and Jamie Murphy got on a good bit of ball, but they had no real stand out forward who looked capable of inflicting any serious damage if in space.

Corofin had a real powerhouse display from current All-Star hurler Daithí Burke at midfield and his ability to cover ground, break the tackle, and link play, is a key part of the Corofin set-up.

The Turloughmore man hit a good point in the first half too, and he is a player who could easily make a big contribution to the Galway football set-up if he wanted to commit to that squad in 2017 - unlikely, however, due to his hurling commitments.

Corofin forwards

Up front Corofin's usual suspects, Gary Sice (1-5, 3fs ), Ian Burke, Martin Farragher, the speedy Dylan Wall, and the hugely influential Michael Farragher, had too much guile and class for the overworked Tuam defence.

They could have scored a few more goals too, but they overplayed the ball on a few occasions and got a bit sloppy in the final quarter. Jason Leonard worked hard at wing-forward, but he hit three or four poor wides in the second half and he needs to be more ruthless to become an established part of that forward line.

Tuam defenders Noel Henry and Rory O'Connor fought valiantly in a lost cause, and Gary O'Donnell tried hard around the middle. Only for their efforts, the final score would have been a lot worse than 2-10 to 0-9.

The bottom line for Tuam is that they probably need to focus on a really strong youth policy for the immediate future in the hope of bringing six or seven new young players through the ranks before they can be considered genuine county title contenders on a regular basis.

They did their best last weekend, and tried hard, but the vast majority of the best players on view wore yellow and green.

The phrase being used by most Corofin supporters leaving the venue was - "job done". And their impressive performance does also ask the question, is there any team in the county who can stop them annexing the Frank Fox again this year?

Cortoon Shamrocks are in the last four courtesy of a good win at Pearse Stadium over an injury hit Na Breathnaigh by 2-11 to 1-5. Milltown and Mountbellew must replay after their 0-9 draw in Tuam, and Caherlistrane and Salthill/Knocknacarra have to play their quarter-final over the coming weeks too.

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