Peerless Corofin produce masterclass of pace and skill

Corofin players celebrate victory over Nemo Rangers in the AIB Gaelic Football All-Ireland Senior Club Championship final at Croke Park on St Patrick’s Day.  Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Corofin players celebrate victory over Nemo Rangers in the AIB Gaelic Football All-Ireland Senior Club Championship final at Croke Park on St Patrick’s Day. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Corofin footballers produced an awesome 30 minutes of Gaelic football on Saturday afternoon, ripping seven-times All-Ireland champions Nemo Rangers apart in the first half of the All-Ireland club football final.

In a stunning and scintillating performance, Corofin won by 15 points, the game ended 2-19 to 0-10. And it could have been more than 20 points if Corofin had not taken their foot off the gas in the final quarter.

From the throw-in Kevin O’Brien’s charges were in top gear and after Gary Sice hit a super shot into the corner of Nemo's net after only seven minutes, the writing was on the wall for the Cork outfit.

That goal was initiated by evergreen full-back Kieran Fitzgerald, who breaking forward, hit a sweet left foot pass up the wing to the sublime Martin Farragher. That the team's full-back was racing up the field - kicking 30 yard passes off his weaker foot – sums up what the Corofin display was all about.

Pace and skill

Speed of thought and speed of body, combined with stupendous levels of raw talent and power left the Nemo defence totally perplexed and chasing shadows.

The angles of running from the Corofin players all over the field was mesmerising to watch at times from the Hogan Stand, so it was possible to feel a little bit of sympathy for the bemused and confused Nemo defenders, who looked totally lost and out on their feet at times.

While the first goal was good, the second was a work of sheer and utter beauty.

It was footballing poetry in motion and having watched it more than 20 times, it is still a team move of brilliance and one of the best scores I have ever seen in any code.

Messi and the gang at Barcelona would be proud of that second goal, it was that good. Tip tappy Gaelic football with an element of a three-man weave in there too for good measure. The synchronicity and fluidity of the team work involved was beautiful and dazzling at the same time.

Micheál Lundy, Daithí Burke, who was involved in the move on a few occasions, and first cousin Ian Burke, whose off the ball running and slipped hand passes were majestic, Martin Farragher, and the super cool finish by Michael Farragher, following a well-timed dart in behind the Nemo full back line was breath-taking.

Once that goal went in, everyone, including the Nemo players knew this was a team at the peak of their powers.

The layoffs

The composure of players in possession, the array of angled runs and the pace and accuracy at which everything was done was hypnotic.

It was astonishingly good and was more in keeping with a really top class inter-county team on the cusp of All-Ireland success than a club team.

From Bernard Power between the sticks, who was pinging his kick-outs with terrific length and accuracy in the first 20 minutes, to the majestic Michael Farragher who caught some beauties around the middle, and grabbed “six-points from play”, it was a magnificent team performance.

There are parts of that 30 minutes of football last weekend which could be used in any GAA coaching manual. It really was that impressive.

Huge credit must go to the Corofin management team led by Kevin O’Brien, with David Morris, Terry Paine, David and Michael Comer, Joe Canney and Ger Keane, who was also involved 20 years ago, and a good few others both on the coaching and organising side of things.

O’Brien was understandably proud of the team’s display which has won plaudits all over the GAA world this week.

“This group of players have delivered so much over the last few years," says O'Brien. We asked them coming up to Croke Park, 'could they deliver a performance?'. That is all we asked them. And boy did they deliver one in style.

"The whole club and parish is very proud of them and their display. They are a really super group of people. They are a credit to themselves, their families and to our club.”

COROFIN : B Power; C Silke, L Silke, K Fitzgerald; C McGrath, D Wall, K Molloy; D Burke, R Steede; M Lundy, G Sice, J Leonard; I Burke, Martin Farragher, Michael Farragher. Subs: C Cunningham for K Molloy (45 ), C Brady for Lundy (49 ), B O’Donovan for Leonard (56 ), D McHugh for C Silke (56 ), C Brady for D Burke (59 ), D Canney for M Farragher (60 ).

NEMO RANGERS: M Martin; K O’Donovan, A O’Reilly, A Cronin; T O Se, S Cronin, K Fulignati; A O’Donovan, J Horgan; B O’Driscoll, P Kerrigan, C O’Brien; P Gumley, L Connolly, C Dalton. Subs: C Horgan for Gumley (38 ), M Dorgan for Horgan (38 ), J Donavan for O’Se (38 ), C Kelly for Dalton (48 ), C O Shea for Fulignati (53 ).

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