Extra-time goal ensures Corofin advance to Connacht final

Kieran Molloy of Corofin and Peter Domican of St Brigid's in action from the Connacht GAA  Club Senior Football championship semi-final at Tuam Stadium on Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Kieran Molloy of Corofin and Peter Domican of St Brigid's in action from the Connacht GAA Club Senior Football championship semi-final at Tuam Stadium on Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Corofin and St Brigid's (Roscommon ) renewed their decade-long rivalry in a thrilling Connacht club semi-final on a wintery afternoon in St Jarlaths' Park in Tuam on Sunday.

It took an extra 20 minutes to separate these sides who have enjoyed many tussles over the years.

Corofin, having been narrowly beaten in 2006 and 2011 by St Brigid's, gained some retribution for those defeats in last year's Connacht final with a 14 point win. Hence last Sunday's game was not about settling old scores, but simply to reach another provincial final.

Despite Corofin being 1/4 favourites to win the game, there was very little between the sides, and it took extra-time for Kevin O'Brien's men to eventually came through by 2-15 to 1-14.

Brigid's powered into an early start with Senan Kilbride, Brian Stack and Padraig Kelly all doing well for the Roscommon champions, while some of the Corofin defenders were too far off the pace of the game.

The visitors led by 0-6 to 0-3 with Corofin struggling badly to convert their scoring chances.

Four attempts for goal in the space of two minutes led to nothing for the Galway men, with two fine saves from keeper Shane Mannion, others cleared off the line and the post - temporarily preventing Corofin from putting the first major on the board.

However Corofin's ability to move the leather quickly and accurately with efficient kick passing finally got its reward.

A mark by Michael Farragher in the middle of the field was kick passed to Michael Lundy, who gave a beautiful pass to Ian Burke in the full forward line and the Galway forward made no mistake with his crisp finish into the bottom corner.

Corofin led by 1-5 to 0-6 at half-time and that lead was pushed to five points with Jason Leonard and Colin Brady to the fore.

However a well-worked goal by Brigid's brought them back into the game, and if it was not for two badly missed frees from Cathal McHugh, the Roscommon champions might have been surprise winners.

As the skies darkened ominously in extra-time, nobody could have blamed either side if the quality or intensity dropped. However, neither side was willing to give an inch.

Three-times hurling All-Star Dathí Burke, who had been introduced as a substitute, started to make his presence felt around the middle of the field despite having very little football played. And it was his involvement in the opening seconds of the second half of extra-time that hit the Roscommon champions the hardest.

A Corofin effort struck the post and possession fell to Justin Burke, who laid off to his first cousin Dathí, who fired superbly to the back of the net. This gave Corofin the cushion they needed to see out the match by 2-15 to 1-14.

This entertaining, yet energy sapping match will stand to Corofin when they play another old foe - Castlebar Mitchel's on Sunday week, November 26 in Tuam after the Mayo side came through the challenge of Sligo's Tourlestrane by 1-13 to 0-9.

This Castlebar team has twice beaten Corofin at this stage in Tuam Stadium in 2013 and 2015 and Corofin will know they will face a massive challenge to regain the Shane McGettigan Cup.

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