Corofin ease past Nemo as they near football immortality

Gary Sice of Corofin fields a kickout ahead of Kevin O'Donovan of Nemo Rangers during the AIB GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Club Championship semi-final match at Cusack Park in Ennis, Clare. 
Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Gary Sice of Corofin fields a kickout ahead of Kevin O'Donovan of Nemo Rangers during the AIB GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Club Championship semi-final match at Cusack Park in Ennis, Clare. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

On paper it should have been a highly competitive fixture. Instead it turned into a disappointing game.

A Nemo side that ought to have had the bit between their teeth, considering the previous fixture between these two great clubs, was largely flat for the duration of this contest. It was an underwhelming performance by the Cork and Munster champions who can count themselves lucky the margin of defeat was only six points, 1-10 to 0-07, given the authority which Corofin had over the game.

Many supporters were still outside the stadium or just making their way in when Corofin had the ball in the back of the Nemo net iside the opening 35 seconds. It must be said it was baffling only two turnstiles were open at the Ennis venue which resulted in numbers of fans from both teams missing the opening exchanges of the match.

The goal came when Gary Sice picked out Martin Farragher, who turned and dinked a delicate pass into the path of the inrushing Micháel Lundy. He rounded the goalkeeper and buried the ball into the net - a wonderful move which epitomised what Corofin are all about. The quick ball from Sice, the vision and skill of Farragher to find Lundy, and then the ruthlessness of Lundy to deliver the goal when in position.

The game was effectively over as a contest after 20 minutes as Corofin led by 1-04 to no score. Points from Jason Leonard (’45 ), Ronan Steede, Martin Farragher and a Gary Sice free put the reigning All-Ireland champions in a comfortable position.

An experienced side like Corofin is never going to give up a seven-point lead if they are given such a strong start, and it was not not until the 23rd minute when Nemo finally opened their account with a point from the left boot of Alan O’Donovan. The point of the afternoon soon followed as Corofin went the full length of the field in three kickpasses, which saw Kieran Molloy fist the ball over the bar at the end of the move. The sides went into the break with the score at 1-05 to 0-02.

In the second half there was never really any real fightback from Nemo, and Corofin never let their lead slip below five points as they strolled through the remainder of the game to win by 1-10 to 0-07. There was, however, some sloppy shooting from the champions. Corofin missed some routine point chances and were casual in their execution of a half chance at goal which we are used to seeing them take.

Nemo never stood a chance against Corofin once their main forwards were shut down. Colin Brady did excellently on Paul Kerrigan, Kieran Fitzgerald snuffed out the threat of young Mark Cronin, and Liam Silke destroyed Luke Connolly who could not get by him all afternoon. It was only a switch to wing forward away from Silke which saw Connolly prove any sort of threat.

Corofin are now back in Croke Park for a third year in succession and on the cusp of history.

They will face Down and Ulster champions Kilcoo who overcame Ballyboden St Enda’s in the other semi-final. They are managed by Mickey Moran who knows all about playing Corofin in Croke Park as he managed Slaughtneil in 2015 when they lost out in the final to Corofin.

Kilcoo are a strong running outfit and they will not fear Corofin. It is hard to see Corofin being stopped on their relentless quest for more glory.

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