Mountbellew/Moylough will have learnt much from their first county final in more than 20 years. They will believe also they are capable of producing a much more sustained and polished performance than the one they produced two weeks ago.
It is reasonable to suggest that Cyril Ryan’s team were fortunate that in the first 20 minutes Corofin had left their shooting boots at home. A succession of poor misses from the current county champions gave the black and amber men hope at a time when they could have found themselves five or six points behind.
It took a tremendous save from Brian Donnellan in that first half to keep the half-time margin to the bare minimum, 0-6 to 0-5, but Joe Canney would be hopeful of raising a green flag if he was to get the same chance again this Sunday.
Such moments decide matches and Donnellan’s fine effort was a defining moment in ensuring that Mounbellew have another bite of the cherry next Sunday in Tuam Stadium at 3.45pm.
For Mountbellew to win, they will need much greater creativity and penetration from their starting forwards.
None of their forwards or midfielders scored from play the last day out and they will expect a much better scoring return from those men now that any county final edginess and tenseness is gone.
Mountbellew will not fear Corofin or the occasion this Sunday and that is a major plus for them. They can just go out now and play.
There will not be any Artane Brass Band, plus the levels of anticipation, nervousness, pressure, and expectation will have eased considerably. They can just go out and give it their best shot. They have some good players and are well capable of annexing the Frank Fox for the first time in 23 years.
Wing-forward Joseph Meehan has impressed all through their campaign and on the other wing, Stephen Boyle knows where the posts are and hit a glorious goal in the semi-final against Caltra.
I would imagine Joe Bergin will line out at midfield alongside Colm Colleran from the start on Sunday as it was only when he was relocated out the middle from full-forward that his side got motoring in the drawn game.
Corofin’s Kieran Fitzgerald seemed to have the measure of him at full-back and while Joe is a good man to win possession, he is unlikely to really skin a defender. He is often capable of doing more damage coming into the opposition defence in possession and facing the goals, rather than having his back to them.
The entire Corofin full-back line of Gary Delaney, Fitzgerald and Cathal Silke did very well on their opposite numbers and Mountbellew will be looking for a much greater return from Sean Sweeney, Cathal Kenny and David Neary if they are all re-selected.
Corofin’s county men hold the key to victory if they deliver
A county player should stand out in a club game, especially a county final, and while Alan Burke was terrific for Corofin, winning ball and linking possession superbly, as well as hitting a fine point from play two weeks ago, Gerry Keane will be asking his other county men, Damien Burke, Gary Sice and Kieran Fitzgerald to really drive the team on this weekend. If all those four men produce really big displays, Corofin will not be stopped.
Burke is a very powerful man and perhaps a few incisive penetrating sallies up the field from centre-back (when the opportunity presents itself ) could lead to a few extra scores that could make the difference.
Likewise Gary Sice who worked terrifically hard and won a lot of breaking ball around midfield the last day, is well capable of bursting through the Mountbellew defence and notching a few points or breaking a few tackles before slipping the final pass for a score for a teammate.
There is history to this fixture, and Mountbellew beat Corofin in 1974 after a replay on a score-line of 1-5 to 0-7 at Tuam Stadium.
No doubt, Cyril Ryan will tell his team that they can do that again in 2009 and they most certainly can. However I think if the Corofin players approach the game in the correct manner and are much more ruthless in their finishing and direct in their approach, they have the talent, the experience,. and the power to win by a narrow margin.
Only a massively focused and professional approach will suffice for them. Unless they are in the zone, cut out their indiscipline, and go for the jugular from the start. they will be beaten. They have the panel of players to sneak home by a point or two.
CLUBS SENIOR ROLL OF HONOUR
*Mountbellew-Moylough have won the Galway county final on fou occasions: 1964, 65, 74 and 86.
*Corofin have won the title on 12 occasions: 1932, 46, 77, 91, 93, 95, 97, 98, 00, 02, 06 and 08.
PRICE REDUCTION FOR NEXT SUNDAY.
The county board is reducing the entrance charge to €15 for next Sunday and €3 for the programme. With a good weather forecast for the weekend and a quality game in store, try to make the effort to get to the game at 3.45pm in Tuam.