“Tot Homines Quot Sententiae” - a Latin maxim states that for every person, there is an opinion. And the Corofin supporters leaving Parnell Park late on Saturday night, feeling despondent after yet another All-Ireland semi-final defeat, also had many diverse opinions.
Some felt their team had left it behind them, and on another day they would have qualified for the All-Ireland final. Thankfully most were realistic and conceded their team were beaten by a better, more efficient and polished outfit.
On the night just too many of the Corofin players did not play to the standard required and there is no point in hiding from that reality.
Players are assessed on performance and very few Corofin men won their individual battles with their direct opponents. When that happens, the team usually loses.
Some Corofin fans were tremendously annoyed about the huge inconsistency when St Gall’s were allowed revert to 15 men in injury time after their centre back Anto Healy had been red-carded in normal time. In contrast Gary Sice’s yellow card carried on into extra time and the Belclare man was subsequently harshly sent off early in extra time for a negligible foul by the inconsistent and exasperating (for both sides ) referee, Cormac Reilly from Meath.
The law can be an ass. And that particular GAA ruling leaves much to be desired at both club and county level. It needs to be changed. And soon.
However Corofin’s popular manager Ger Keane was not using the law as any sort of an excuse.
“If it was our own situation and things were reversed, we wouldn’t say a thing about it either. That’s the luck of the draw. It did have a big effect, no doubt whatsoever. However we missed too many chances in the first half. We were three points down at half time instead of two or three up and we paid a price for that.”
My own view is that Corofin were just not good enough to overcome St Gall's last Saturday evening.
As proven last year against Kilmacud Crokes at the same stage, they currently lack a few top quality players to go on and win an All-Ireland club title. They have won the Connacht club title for the past two years, so they must be considered one of the best and most consistent sides in the county and province, but the scoring power, leadership and ruthlessness is not there to go all the way at present, which is a pity.
Team captain Kieran Comer worked hard all through at full-forward and his 1-06 (5fs ) is testament to his endeavours. Likewise young Ronan Steede had a fine game, full of honesty and graft in the half forward line, and Alan O’Donovan hit a few nice points. However no forward really took the game by the scruff of the neck and produced genuine and consistent damage on the Gall’s rearguard from play.
It must be said that St Gall's are a fine side and the way they switched to complete possession football when they needed to was a real eye-opener. They have won the All-Ireland sevens competition on a few occasions and they looked really composed and in control when on the ball.
They are very strong at midfield where the highly mobile and brawny Antrim star Aodhan Gallagher did a lot of damage. I have no doubt that both Corofin midfielders, Greg Higgins and Aidan Donnellan, would like to play the game again this weekend. Not enough breaks were picked up around the middle either and St Gall’s greater physicality was a big plus for the Falls Road team.
Unfortunately Corofin’s much vaunted defence found it impossible to keep tabs on corner forward CJ McGourty, who notched 1-09 (8fs ), and Sean Kelly’s raids from wing-back were not tracked which was a major problem all through the contest.
Kieran Fitzgerald tried to rally the troops, but the half-back line of Alan Burke, Damien Burke and Gary Sice was under so much pressure they were not able to launch any counter-attacks as is their norm.
It will not be easy for the current panel to bounce back from this body blow. But they have no other choice. They must pick themselves up, dust themselves down, and in a few months set themselves the target of trying to win a hat-trick of county titles.
That is how life works. Young men like Eanna Langan, Michael Lundy, Daithí Burke, Aineis Lawless, Kieran Cunningham, Ian Burke and a few others should come through in the next few seasons and put pressure on the established stars. With an influx of four or five new players, who knows what can happen. And perhaps Corofin can get back to Croke Park in the next few years. Volente Deo.