Corofin get the job done for famous six-in-a-row

Dylan Wall of Corofin tackles Eoin Finnerty of Mountbellew Moylough in action from the Galway Senior Club Championship Football final at Pearse Stadium on Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Dylan Wall of Corofin tackles Eoin Finnerty of Mountbellew Moylough in action from the Galway Senior Club Championship Football final at Pearse Stadium on Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Often in life how you get to your destination can be deemed irrelevant - once you complete the journey.

It is a matter of “getting the job done”.

A number of Corofin players mentioned that phrase on the sod of Pearse Stadium last Sunday after their victory over Mountbellew/Moylough when they won the 2018 county final replay on a score-line of 1-08 to 0-5 in a rather unedifying game of Gaelic football.

Corofin had a job to do.

They did it, and in the history books of Galway GAA when the years 2013 to 2018 are looked at in the future - the North Board club will be deemed the absolute kingpins of the county after completing an historic six-in-a-row of titles.

The game itself was a very tactical intriguing affair – resembling a game of chess at times – which the traditionalists despise and deride - with long passages of “keep ball” with both sides adopting a very defensive set-up when not in possession.

Mountbellew were beaten easily by Corofin by 10 points last year in the final and team manager Michael Donnellan was not going to let that happen again.

His side repeatedly had all their 15 players behind the ball in an effort to frustrate and nullify the attacking prowess of the All-Ireland champions. Corofin on the other hand, in the main kept the Farragher brothers in attacking positions when they were defending. It was not unusual to see 29 players inside the Mountbellew half – Corofin goalkeeper Bernard Power being the odd man out and you could not “swing the proverbial cat” when the space was that congested.

Wall’s goal decisive moment in the game

The key score of the game came from the impressive Dylan Wall after some outstanding interplay with Liam Silke when he walloped home a tonic goal past Damien Boyle that gave Corofin a two point lead early in the first half and took some of the pressure off them to go into anything resembling all out attack.

Instead the crowd of just over 3,000 paying customers watched Jason Leonard, Cathal Silke, Kieran Fitzgerald, and Ronan Steede passing the ball across the field in front of Mountbellew’s defensive sphere on numerous occasions – going from one side of the field to the other in no particular hurry.

From there they probed the wings until the likes of Kieran Molloy, Gary Sice, team captain Michael Lundy, or Daithí Burke made a run to try to pierce the heavily patrolled Mountbellew defence.

A critical moment that could have changed the complexion of the entire game came when roving defender Gary Sweeney showed super pace to get in behind the Corofin cover only to see his shot cannon off the crossbar to safety. A green flag there would have done wonders for their cause both psychologically and on the scoreboard.

The impressive Eoin Finnerty hit a good point just before half-time to leave Wall’s goal the difference, at 1-04 to 0-4.

When Corofin were two points up in the first game they went in search of more and got turned over and Mountbellew were very unlucky not to win that tie.

However, champions learn lessons and they were much cuter last weekend and sucked Mountbellew out a bit more before they made their move and they cruised home in the last few minutes.

That said, Mountbellew will be disappointed that their top free-taker Barry McHugh missed two scorable efforts in the second half that would have given them a bit of hope.

Four players walked

A series of cards from referee Tommy Faherty (An Spidéal ) near the end of the game saw Noel McDonagh, Barry McHugh, Kieran Fitzgerald, and Michael Daly all dismissed, and the game was getting quite fractious before Corofin hit a few late scores to win by six points 1-08 to 0-5.

Mountbellew had good displays from Michael Daly who hit two screamers of points in the first half, John Daly who is a terrific prospect and carried out a lot of ball, Gary Sweeney, Finnerty, and wing-back Paul Donnellan.

Corofin are a very measured and efficient unit who emphasis making the right choices at the right time. Their success is based on the collective more so than individual brilliance.

Gary Sice hit 0-4 (3fs ) and worked hard up front while Liam Silke linked a lot of ball and hit a good score from play in the first half.

Dylan Wall’s goal was expertly taken and he is well worth a shot with the Galway seniors next year if he is available to commit to the maroon cause.

Centre-back Dylan McHugh, Ronan Steede, and four in a row hurling All-Star Daithí Burke all worked very hard in general play with Burke a powerful unit at midfield.

Corofin’s third football All-Star ever - Ian Burke who followed in the footsteps of goalkeeper Martin McNamara (1998 ) and corner back Kieran Fitzgerald (2001 ) - was ruled out due to a rib injury and is expected to be out for a few weeks.

For Mountbellew it was a case of “so near - and yet so far” and last weekend was their third county final defeat in four years.

However they have progressed significantly this season and with their age profile they look one of the more likely teams to try to stop Corofin’s relentless domination of senior football in the county.

The Galway champions with team manager Kevin O’Brien looking to annex another provincial title head to Hyde Park this Sunday (1.30pm ) to take on Clann na Gael (Roscommon ) in the provincial semi-final.

Mayo champions (Ballintubber ) face Aughawilliam (Leitrim ) in the other semi-final this Sunday too in Carrick-on-Shannon.


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