Dominant Corofin romp to remarkable five in a row

Corofin Celebrate another title after they defeated Mountbellew Moylough in the Galwy Senior Football Championship final at Tuam Stadium on Sunday. 							Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

Corofin Celebrate another title after they defeated Mountbellew Moylough in the Galwy Senior Football Championship final at Tuam Stadium on Sunday. Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

uam Stadium on Sunday afternoon, many supporters felt Mountbellew-Moylough, based on their form over the past few months, and Corofin's lack of urgency all season - paticularly in their one-point win over Annaghdown - had a fighting chance of pulling off a surprise result.

If Corofin were flat, if they could not bring themselves up to championship tempo once more, if they were not up for it, then Mountbellew had a window of opportunity to take the champions down.

However, after watching less than five minutes of the first half in the company of a few happy Claregalway men who had enjoyed their minor success, including a past pupil of mine Eoin Clarke, and his brother David - we all agreed Corofin were totally up for the fray and would not be beaten.

Their urgency and raw intensity was back in spades, and with it went any chance Mountbellew had of knocking them off their perch.

A harsh assessment, but a fair one

Even from the throw-in Corofin tore into the tackles and they got into their efficient and ruthless groove before most Mountbellew players had even broken a bead of sweat.

The way players such as Dylan Wall, Gary Sice, Micheál Lundy and Conor Cunningham rattled into their opposing numbers from the get-go lay down a marker.

A statement of intent was made inside those first few minutes with the experienced Corofin players laying down the law - 'This is our turf. Our stage, and we are not going away without a serious arm-wrestle. We are going to be aggressive and physically tough, and we both know who wins these battles on county final day.'

The Corofin half-forward line chased down the Mountbellew attackers with an intensity and ferociousness they had not faced heretofore in 2017, and Michael Donnellan's offensive unit had no real answer.

Corofin's shield impenetrable

Corofin set up a shield of players across their half-back line and Mountbellew could not find a way through that ring of steel. The physicality Corofin brought to the tackle left Mountbellew going laterally far too often, and only the impressive Barry McHugh made any real dent in the yellow and green rearguard.

Conor Cunningham epitomised Corofin's spirit with some terrific steals in a super personal performance before he went off injured and Dylan Wall also produced a quality display.

The strength and conditioning the older Corofin players have done over the past six and seven years means that if the opposition bring the ball into the tackle, they are invariably stripped of possession and a rapid counter attack mounted.

Mountbellew was handed a very small glimmer of hope just before half-time when a fully deserved red card was handed out to Corofin corner back Cathal Silke.

Now, only four points behind and had an extra man heading into the half-time break, surely they would muster a challenge with numerical advantage and everything to play for?

Two cracking goals

Instead it was Corofin who totally dominated the second half, with two superbly crafted goals, that were cracked home in style by Conor Cunningham and Martin Farragher.

Once those two majors went in, the only question remaining was the margin of victory.

Corofin was in complete control for the last quarter, and watching Bernard Power, Kieran Fitzgerald and team captain Ciarán McGrath passing the ball around their own full-back line without the Mountbellew forwards being able to get close to them, and then breaking at pace, must have been incredibly frustrating for the losing management team and their loyal supporters.

When you find yourself eight or nine points down against an incredibly experienced and composed team like Corofin, it needs a small miracle to get you back into the game.

But Kevin O'Brien's team were in no mood to allow the black and amber men even a sniff of a chance of a comeback.

Thus it was yet another disappointing and bitter county final defeat for Mountbellew against one of the best club sides ever assembled in Galway.

The fact that Corofin full-back Kieran Fitzgerald collected county medal number 12 tells us all we need to know about his club's domination of club football in the county since 1998.

Fitzgerald is some player, and must rank as one of the best ever to wear the Corofin colours.

It is now business as usual for the victors as they roll onto yet another Connacht championship when they will play the Roscommon champions on Sunday November 12.

If they can reproduce the intensity of effort they had last weekend over the coming weeks and with Daithí Burke back in the fold, who knows when their season will end?

Scorers for Corofin: Jason Leonard 0-6 (0-4f ), Martin Farragher 1-1, Conor Cunningham 1-0, Gary Sice 0-2 (0-1f ), Ronan Steede 0-2, Michael Farragher 0-1, Dylan Wall 0-1, Ian Burke 0-1.

Scorers for Mountbellew-Moylough: Barry McHugh 0-6 (0-4f ), Paul Donnellan 0-2, Joe Bergin 0-1, E Finnerty 0-1.

Corofin: B Power; C McGrath (Cpt ), K Fitzgerald, C Silke; D Wall, K Molloy, L Silke, Michael Farragher, R Steede, C Cunningham, J Leonard, G Sice, Martin Farragher, I Burke, M Lundy. Subs: D McHugh for Cunningham (inj, 41 ), D Burke for Molloy (47 ), J Burke for L Silke (50 ), C Brady for McGrath (57, B O Donovan for Wall (62 ), K Murphy for Leonard (63 ).

Mountbellow-Moylough: B Donnellan; A McHugh, S Moran, M Mannion, C Kenny, J Daly, C Murray, E Finnerty, J Bergin, S Boyle, M Daly, P Donnellan, C Mannion, B McHugh, N McDonagh. Subs: G Donaghue for S Boyle (34 ), M Barrett for McDonagh (41 ), A Sweeney for J Daly (52 ), C Duffy for Murray (62 ), J Meehan for C Mannion (62 ).

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