A place in the 2019 Claregalway Hotel Senior Football Championship final will be decided this weekend when Corofin will face Salthill/Knocknacarra in Tuam Stadium on Saturday evening, while Moycullen and Tuam Stars clash in Pearse Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
First up will be Corofin and Salthill at 5pm on Saturday, preceded by the junior county final between Glenamaddy and Salthill at 3pm.
Corofin, after confidently dispatching Mountbellew/Moylough from the championship at the quarter-final stage, will be hot favourites to reach yet another county final.
After a poor start to 2019 when losing their opening league games, Salthill/Knocknacarra have since been unbeaten. Since securing a late draw against Bearna, they have defeated Killererin, Milltown, An Spideal and St Michael's at the group stage before a late rally saw off a young Claregalway side, thanks to a fine strike from Gearoid Armstrong.
A fine display from Kieran Fitzgerald against Mountbellew and keeping Barry McHugh to just a single point from play showed there is still plenty in the tank, but Corofin's major worry was Mountbellew's attacking prowess. When Michael Donnellan’s side moved from their defensive set-up and into attack to try to get back in the game, Corofin’s defence looked in trouble.
They reduced the deficit from 10 to four, and it needed goalkeeper Bernard Power to keep his side in control after some super saves from McHugh's efforts. Manager Kevin O’Brien would have been delighted to have Gary Sice and Michael Farragher available for the game against their biggest rivals of the decade.
Salthill’s two brightest players of the year so far have been Robert Finnerty and John Maher. Their ability, along with the powerful running of Armstrong, have helped provide the majority of their team's scores this year. How Corofin manage these three players will go a long way to deciding the outcome of this game.
Moycullen v Tuam Stars
On Sunday Moycullen hope to advance to their first county final in 42 years when they play a Tuam side aiming to reach the final for the first time since 2012.
Moycullen has been an improving side in Galway over the last number of years, regaining a place at the top level in 2015, while Tuam have recovered impressively from a disappointing 2018 when they ended up in the relegation semi-final.
Moycullen performed admirably to come from behind and snatch a win over St Michael's in the quarter-final, but they must be disappointed their discipline let them down, finishing the game with 12 after county players David Wynne and Gareth Bradshaw were shown the line.
Tuam also had some luck on their side to prevail against An Spideal with the amount of chances lost. However the more efficient shooting came from the town side to give them a three-point win. Losing Paul Collins and Brian Mannion is a huge blow for Tommy Carton’s side, but it can be managed if a fully fit Cormac McWalter and Rory O’Connor return to the side. Jamie Murphy’s form this year has made him almost unmarkable, and he will surely need to be double-marked to give Moycullen any chance of keeping him quiet.
Moycullen's Seán Kelly is expected to remain sidelined, while Peter Cooke is in America, leaving their side without two top performers. Paul Kelly, at midfield, produced a top class performance, showing how to control a game with his positioning and passing against St Michael's and he played a huge part in his side advancing to the semi-finals.
This semi-final is expected to be a tight, tough and hard hitting match supporters will not want to miss.