Corofin do just enough to collect Frank Fox

Greg Higgins of  Corofin,in action against Davd Finnegan and Fergal Heverin of Cortoon Shamrocks in the Galway County Senior Football final.

Greg Higgins of Corofin,in action against Davd Finnegan and Fergal Heverin of Cortoon Shamrocks in the Galway County Senior Football final.

Thankfully there are very many funny and humorous people in Galway GAA circles. And sometimes that wit can pass down the gene pool to the younger generation.

Tuam Stars’ man and standby referee for last week’s county minor final Tony Keating is one such individual who is rarely stuck for a quick retort.

He is alleged to have trotted out this classic a fair few years ago. The Stars were being well beaten in a particular game and he was on the substitute bench. With about three minutes left on the clock and his side behind by double figures, the manager turned to the dug-out and shouted.

“Tony, get ready. You’re coming on.” To which Tony infamously responded: “Sure it takes two minutes to even boil an egg.”

Last Monday morning when chatting about the county final with a few first-years, Tomas, his son who is only 12 or 13 years of age, came up with this wonderful wisecrack to describe the quality of football on display in the county final. “There was better football played at half-time in 10 minutes in the u-12 game than there was in the entire senior match.”

It’s not from the wind he picked it up and to be honest he had a fair point.

Even the most passionate and loyal Cortoon or Corofin supporter would surely acknowledge that the quality of fare offered by both sides was rancid. Cortoon manager Barry Downey, who did really well with his squad this season, pointed out on TG4 before the throw-in that neither side would be overly concerned about the standard of the game once they collected the Frank Fox.

Of course he was right, and Jimmy Sice and his troops won’t be too worried that the neutral thought it was a terrible game of football, but they will know that if there is to be any chance of provincial glory, they need to improve a lot of what they produced last Sunday…particularly in the first half when they did not register a score for more than 30 minutes.

The number of soft turnovers, misplaced passes, poor quality tackling, headless running, crazy shots, lack of vision and support play, atrocious wides, and general lack of cohesion by both sides was difficult to comprehend.

Prove it was that bad. Well the first half ended 0-3 apiece, and only Derek Savage and Alan O’ Donovan could hit a point from play. Now, perhaps I am getting cranky in my old age – stop agreeing in the cheap seats – but two points from play in almost 37 minutes of Gaelic football is horse manure.

Donovan scored in the first minute and it took the county champions 32 more minutes to add a second, courtesy of a well-won free by the highly effective Aiden Donnellan.

Unfortunately from a spectator viewpoint the vast majority of the best displays were from defenders.

Michael Comer marshalled Derek Savage superbly, and his equalising point from distance was a wonderful score. It was a key moment in the tie. Kieran Fitzgerald had too much experience and guile for young Michael Martin and held him to 0-3 from frees.

At the other end David Finnegan predominantly, Brian Roche, and Donal O’ Neill really impressed for the Shamrocks. None of the Cortoon forwards took the game by the scruff of the neck and with Savage being crowded out by force of numbers and the excellent man-marking of Comer, their attacking unit looked devoid of ideas.

Joe Canney was the pick of the Corofin forwards and his two points from play in the second half were tonic scores. His work-rate and mobility is a potent weapon for his side, and if a few more of the forwards took a leaf from his book, then Corofin would be a vastly improved outfit.

That said, both substitutes Trevor Burke and David Hanley did a lot of good work, with Hanley kicking a good score, and they will both be pushing for starting places for the Connacht semi-final on November 9 against the Roscommon champions.

It was impossible not to feel disappointed for Cortoon that they did not play to the high standards they have shown on the road to the final. They are a very small club and their opportunities to play in the showcase games of football in Galway are few and far between. When will they be back in a final again?

Will Killererin, Salthill, Tuam Stars, Caherlistrane ,or their ilk, be back in the frame for the big prize in 2009 and could Cortoon be squeezed out?

They can have no real complaints about this defeat as unfortunately their attack and midfield did not perform to their potential on the big day.

They only scored five points, with 0-2 coming from play which won’t win any big game and that is the harsh reality, and it is one they will regret over the coming weeks. For Corofin, it is title number 12 and a chance to add to the three Connacht titles annexed in the 1990s.

The season is over for one side and a new chapter is just starting for the other.


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