A lot done - but more to do for Corofin

A neighbour of mine in Moycullen has taken to marking off wet Saturdays on his calendar over the past few months. He told me about his rather unusual pastime on a mercy mission last Saturday as he bundled my two youngsters into his car before they were swe

 Aidan Donnellan of Corofin fends off Castlerea’s Noel Curran in the AIB Connacht Senior Club Football Championship semi-final at Kiltoom, Co Roscommon.

Aidan Donnellan of Corofin fends off Castlerea’s Noel Curran in the AIB Connacht Senior Club Football Championship semi-final at Kiltoom, Co Roscommon.

We were home alone and cabin fever had set in. Against the five-year-old’s better judgement, we had made a break for it. A short walk to stretch the legs, 20 minutes would have done the job. Is that too much to ask of the weather fairy?

Allegedly the stats make for horrific reading and we are in real fail territory as regards fine days versus ones that are more suited to a warm fire, a working remote control, and copious quantities of hot tea. I don’t know about his figures for Saturdays, but I can vouch there would be few, if any worse, than the bitter day that greeted the St Michael’s and Corofin supporters last Sunday in Kiltoom.

Only the unwavering travelled and thankfully they were rewarded with two fine wins by both sides and a really solid display by Corofin in the second half when they blew away a hard working, but exceedingly limited Castlerea side, finishing 1 - 14 to 0 - 8 winners.

If they are currently the best side in Roscommon, it is no wonder the county has not won a provincial title since 2001. There were a lot of positives for Jimmy Sice’s team and the main one is that there was a significant improvement in the cohesiveness of their forward play from the Galway county final.

Players linked up much more, space was created regularly, and the pace of David Hanley, Alan O’Donovan, Joe Canney, Alan Burke, Gary Sice and the experience of Trevor Burke and Jason Killeen had Castlerea in all sorts of trouble. Hanley in particular had one of his better games for the club and any time a wing-forward can retire with four points from play on the board represents a good innings. Admittedly he gave the ball away cheaply on a few occasions in the first half, but once he hit a few scores and his confidence was up, he really roasted the Castlerea rearguard in the last 25 minutes.

I watched the re-run during the top-class weekly TG4 highlights show on Monday evening and David spoke with great humility and honesty as he was presented with his man-of-the-match award. Based on his assessment and his level-headedness in the post match interview, none of the panel will be getting carried away with their nine-point win over the Roscommon champions.

They face Eastern Harps on Sunday week in the Connacht final at Pearse Stadium, and they know that presents a terrific opportunity to collect the club’s first Connacht title since they beat Allen Gaels back in the winter of 1997.

If the team keep their focus on the task in hand and get over that game, who knows where they could end up in the early months of next year?

Another man who really caught the eye last Sunday was Trevor Burke who looked in terrific shape. He has obviously worked really hard on his fitness over the past few weeks and he belied his veteran status with a blistering performance from centre-forward, including two fine points.

It was also good to see former Galway star Jason Killeen back in the fold and providing a very effective target man from number 14. Killeen was shabbily treated by Galway management in the championship of 2000 and it is to his credit that he is still going strong and coming back into such good form after a series of injuries. If Jason gets himself into top fitness and gets a few full games under his belt, he could be a really potent weapon on the edge of the square and a man that could make all the difference to his team.

Selector Eddie Steede, not a man prone to hyperbole, pointed out to me yesterday, that while it was a good win, there needed to be another step up in performance and an elimination of unforced errors if they are to collect the provincial title.

“We were pleased with the win and it was an improvement from our display in the county final. Nevertheless, having watched the game a few times on video since Sunday, we have plenty to work on before we face Eastern Harps, who beat us in the Connacht championship back in 2002. We are getting there, but we’ve a fair distance to travel yet.”



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