Corofin are Connacht champions for the eighth time

Corofin's Michael Lundy rounds Castlebar Mitchell's goalkeeper Rory Byrne to score a goal in the Connacht GAA Club Senior Football Championship final at Tuam Stadium, Sunday. 					Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Corofin's Michael Lundy rounds Castlebar Mitchell's goalkeeper Rory Byrne to score a goal in the Connacht GAA Club Senior Football Championship final at Tuam Stadium, Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Corofin went to the top of the roll of honour for Connacht club triumphs with their eighth title since 1991. Last weekend's win over Castlebar Mitchels saw them pass out Roscommon’s Clann na nGael who have seven gongs from the 1980s.

Eight provincial titles in 26 years is good work for any club; five since 2008 is a tremendous achievement by this current Corofin squad.

Ray Silke, who won three Connacht titles with the club in 1991, 1995 and 1997, looks at why the club is the top team in Connacht.

1 - Strength in depth

When veteran full-back Kieran Fitzgerald had to be withdrawn after only 20 minutes due to a collision with his teammate Conor Cunningham, the Corofin management team, led by Kevin O'Brien, could turn to their bench. Here regular corner back Cathal Silke could come in for the 2001 All-Star.

Silke, who is 27, had already won four Connacht medals from 08, 09, 14 and 16 before last weekend, and with eight county medals in the satchel also, he was an ideal replacement in the team's full-back line.

If Silke was not cutting the mustard, the Corofin “brains trust” could have tried this year's county U21 defender Dylan McHugh or current hurling All-Star Daithí Burke, or the experienced Barry O'Donovan to come in to bolster their rearguard.

Later, when the fat was in the fire due to a lack of ruthlessness by Corofin up front in the third quarter, young Ciarán Brady came on and produced a splendid display of high fielding to steady the ship.

The experienced Kevin Murphy also came in and did a solid job linking play up front.

County minor forward Darragh Silke is also improving and could have a role to play in February if Fulham Irish are defeated on Sunday week.

What other team in the province has such a squad to call on?

2 - Vision and kick passing ability

Corofin have an array of super players who are comfortable with the ball in hand. They have the vision to see the pass and the skill to deliver the leather with an accurate kick pass.

Corofin's second goal was a case in point. Ian Burke was fouled. In an instant the razor-sharp Burke was up and saw an incisive run by Micheal Lundy. Burke put the ball on a plate for Lundy who scored a super goal to hand the initiative to his team.

Very few players would even see the pass, and even fewer would be able to hit the defence splitting pass with the pace and precision that he did.

Midfielder Michael Farragher is another player on the team who links play really well and has the skill base to hit some stunning passes, as can Gary Sice, Ronan Steede and Lundy on occasion.

Corofin train a lot with the ball and are really comfortable in possession, Goalkeeper Bernard Power, who had a super game last weekend, often created an overlap by bringing the ball out the field before laying it off.

3 - Winning is a habit

The top teams and the top players know how to eke out a result in tight games.

This year in the Galway championship Annaghdown had their foot on Corofin’s neck, when Justin Burke came in and hit 0-3 from play, and the champions squirmed free to win by a whisker.

They have been taken to extra time by both St Brigid's and Castlebar in the last two games and have survived to tell the tale. That guile and cuteness is impossible to coach. It comes from experience and genuine leadership within the squad.

Corofin have been the kingpins of Galway football for more than 20 years. Based on what they produced last weekend, it does not look likely to change in 2018.

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