Corofin continue to set the pace as championship quarter-finals beckon

All Ireland and Galway champions Corofin will face Salthill Knocknacarra in this year's senior football championship quarter-final.

As expected Corofin were the clear group 4A winners and now face the group 1 runners-up Salthill Knocknacarra. The winners of group 1 and 2, Barna and Tuam Stars, meet in the quarter-finals, while the runners up of group 2 and 3 have been paired, Mountbellew-Moylough v Killanin. The final contest sees title hopefuls Moycullen, winners of group 2, face city side St James.

In the relegation semi finals, Caherlistrane face Michael Breathnachs, while Monivea-Abbey and An Spidéal are paired.

Quarter-finals(September 12/13 ): Tuam Stars v Barna; Mountbellew-Moylough v Killanin; Corofin v Salthill-Knocknacarra; Moycullen v St James.

Relegation semi finals:Caherlistrane v Michael Breathnachs; Monivea-Abbey v An Spidéal

Titanic battles

The final round of group stages were completed on Sunday evening, along with the two preliminary quarter-finals and a relegation quarter-final associated with groups 4a and 4b.

Going into the weekend’s fixtures, group 3 was set to hold two titanic battles. With all teams on two points after two games, it was a do-or-die battle for all four teams who knew that a win would see them progress to the quarter-finals.

Killanin faced Caherlistrane, and Tuam were up against Claregalway in Tuam Stadium on Sunday evening in a game that was poised to be the tie of the weekend, and so it proved to be.

Both sides had lost their opening games, but were on the back of victories in the previous round. Tuam raced into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead with Jamie Murphy, Gary O’Donnell and the impressive Brian Mannion on the scoreboard for Tuam Stars, while Jason Reilly ran a full 60 metres unchallenged to open Claregalway’s account.

The sharp shooting from both sides continued in what was the best 30 minutes of football to be played so far this season. Paraic Commons hit back for Claregalway with two super frees and two from play, including one of the scores of the game where he upended corner back Aengus Tierney with a dummy before coolly slotting over the bar.

At the other end of the pitch, Cormac McWalter and Brian Mannion were on fire for Tuam - Mannion, in particular, kicked four beauties from play in the first half off left and right feet.

The crucial score of the first half came from Claregalway corner back Dara Whelan, who made a rampaging run up the pitch before finally shaking his marker to blast home past Tuam goalkeeper Johnny Trayers.

The scoreline at half-time read Claregalway 1-10 Tuam Stars 0-11.

However, the Donie Buckley-trained Claregalway went on to record only two more scores as last year’s beaten finalists took over in the second half. The Stars were helped largely by corner forward Cormac McWalter who registered 1-4 in the second half and finished with a total tally of 1-6.

Experience told in the second period. When Tuam took their lead, they never looked back, whereas a young Claregalway side appeared to panic. Instead of taking their scores with 10 minutes remaining, Claregalway went gung-ho for goals.

As a result Tommy Carton’s team closed the game out with ease to book their quarter-final place, the score 1-18 to 1-12.

The other game in group 3 saw Killanin overcome Caherlistrane by 1-13 to 2-7. Killanin now look forward to the quarter-finals, while Caherlistrane once again face a relegation battle.

Group 1 also had an exciting finish as Salthill-Knocknacarra scraped past An Spidéal by 0-16 to 1-12, while in the other game Barna finished with three wins from three in the group when they got the better of St Michael's 0-13 to 0-11. An Spidéal will be in the relegation play-offs.

In group 2 with both sides already having qualified, Moycullen took top spot with a convincing 4-14 1-9 win over Mountbellew-Moylough. Annaghdown avoided relegation on Friday evening with a win over Michael Breathnachs, who face a battle to avoid the drop.

Milltown will be playing senior once again next year when they got past Monivea-Abbey 1-13 to 1-10 in the relegation quarter-final, while in the group 4 play-offs, champions Corofin breezed past An Cheathrú Rua 0-16 to 0-06, and St James got the better of Oughterard 3-16 to 1-14.


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