COROFIN 2-14 CHARLESTOWN 0-7
Nobody could fault the Charlestown club for the effort and hard work they put into hosting the 2009 Connacht club final.
On the road into the town they had painted green on alternate white lines (the club colours ). They had a life size gingerbread man with “Welcome to Charlestown” on the middle of his chest and slogans like “Ctown to Sice Corofin in two” on the walls of the pitch. The organising committee and backroom set-up are to be commended.
Alas the work done off the field was as good as it got for the home team, who were given a right old trimming in the second half from a Corofin side that has improved as the Connacht club championship has progressed.
Corofin enjoyed a tonic start when team captain Kieran Comer, who had only just returned from a week of golf in Portugal on Saturday, was set up by the industrious Joe Canney for an early goal.
Comer then went on to have one of his finest ever games in a Corofin senior jersey. He slotted over seven points to add to his early goal and his point from play was a superb effort.
When you score 1-07 and lead the opposition defence on a merry dance for 60 minutes, you are definitely going to be in the running for man-of-the-match and Comer was duly presented with that award after the contest.
Corofin’s manager Ger Keane did not expect to defeat the home opposition by 13 points and he will know that St Galls (Antrim ) will be a much more difficult proposition next February. However he and his backroom team will be satisfied their team did all that could be asked of them last weekend.
David Morris was composed in goal and Damien Burke was rock solid in front of him. In the absence of Kieran Fitzgerald, Burke has manned the full-back position with aplomb.
His raw strength, tight marking, and good fielding are major attributes for that position and if Fitzgerald is back to full fitness for the All-Ireland semi-final, it will be interesting to see where he will be accommodated.
In the two corners Gary Delaney and Cathal Silke improved as the contest went on and both had fruitful second halves.
Silke, who is in his debut season at senior level with the club, was well off the pace in the first period, but he refocused at half time and looked a different player entirely in the second.
Centre back Tony Goggins manned the middle well and Gary Sice had a very fine game at number seven.
Gary Sice’s best position is wing-back. He is very effective breaking forward from wing-back and the forcefulness and dynamism of his late run to combine with Canney for his goal was hugely impressive. When a player is happy in a position and one that suits him, it is best to leave him there if at all possible, and the swapping and changing of Sice between defence and attack at both club and county level last year did not help his game at all. Leave him at wing-back and get on with it.
Likewise Ciaran McGrath was brilliant when he was repositioned to right half back and he looks much more at home there than up front.
Greg Higgins and Aiden Donnellan both had good spells around the middle at times, but Tom Parsons won far too many kick-outs cleanly for my liking and that cannot be allowed to happen.
Having watched St Galls in action last weekend too and observed the superb displays of their midfielders Aodhan Gallagher (Antrim’s midfielder ) and Seán Burke, there is no doubt that area will be crucial in the All-Ireland semi-final.
Up front Comer was the shooting star, but the work-rate and mobility of Joe Canney was integral to most of Corofin’s best moves.
The pocket-rocked ended up with 0-2, but that should have been about 2-2, and his finishing for goals in particular needs to be worked on for 2010.
Ronan Steede put in a fine shift at centre-forward and the quality of his passing to the inside line was excellent. He is a very talented youngster and has all the skills required to be a really top player. His dummy solo and cut back to set up a gilt edged opportunity for Canney was class.
Michael Farragher popped his point over sweetly, but he needs to maintain his concentration and work-rate for the entire 60 minutes. He is young though and he will improve.
Shane Monaghan’s introduction was significant too as his mobility, pace, and selfless running brought a lot to the party.
Overall it was a very good day’s work for the North Board club and none of the players I spoke to were anything except level headed and realistic about the challenges that lie ahead.
One summed it up perfectly;
“It was a nice win, but Charlestown were terrible on the day. If we are going to play in Croke Park on St Patrick’s Day, we have a lot of improving to do, but at least we have a chance to do so. We have improved as the year has gone on and if that continues in January and February, who knows where we’ll end up.”
Corofin: David Morris; Gary Delaney, Damien Burke, Cathal Silke; Donal Keane, Tony Goggins, Gary Sice (1-0 ); Greg Higgins (0-1 ), Aiden Donnellan; Michael Farragher (0-1 ), Ronan Steede, Ciaran McGrath (0-1 ); Kieran Comer (1-7, 6fs ), Joe Canney (0-2 ), Alan Burke. Subs used: Shane “Cuckie” Monaghan (0-1 ) for Keane; Alan O’Donovan (0-1 ) for Farragher; Trevor Burke for Steede.
Charlestown: J Casey; E Casey, D McMeel, D Caffrey; D Higgins, K Deignan, C Maye; T Parsons (0-1 ), A Higgins; R Haran (0-3, 1f ), M Caffrey, P Mulligan (0-3, 2fs ); M Mulvaney, T Mulligan, O Conway. Subs used: B O’Connell for Conway; S Morris for Maye; M Divilly for Caffrey; E Gallagher for Mulvaney.
Referee: Marty Duffy (Sligo ).