Under the new management of Jimmy O’Dea and Kevin Reidy, Tuam Stars are back in the county semi-finals where they will face the team that beat them in last year’s county final, Corofin.
The Stars look to have improved from last season and have a better balance to their team. Last Sunday evening they were in complete control against an out-of-sorts and disappointing Milltown side at Tuam Stadium. The Stars won by 0-14 to 1-8, but they were far superior than that scoreline suggests.
Tuam are the top winners in the Galway football championship roll of honour, with 25 senior titles. Their last win was in 1994 and they will be keen to break that 18 year gap.
Shane Curtin (0-5 ), Jamie Murphy (0-3 ), and Shane Gaffney were impressive up front, while Conor Doherty did a lot of damage with some powerful runs down the middle. His brother and former Galway senior goalkeeper Paul Doherty continued his fine form around the middle and he is a big addition to the side this year. Aonghus Tierney, Gary O’Donnell, Tony Costello and Noel Henry did well too.
Milltown never got out of the blocks and will be not be happy to end their season in this manner. They came into the game on the back of some very good form, but their overall play and use of the ball was poor and disjointed. Mark Hehir scored an injury-time goal from a penalty, but it was too little, far too late.
That game was preceded by St James and Corofin and the county champions were lucky to survive a Paul Conroy-led comeback by St James.
Corofin led by nine points at half-time, 2-7 to 0-4, but they were shockingly poor in the second half and failed to score in the closing 20 minutes. Their first-half goals came from Kieran McGrath and Tomás Costello.
St James enjoyed a tonic at the start of the second half when substitute Eoin Teagle goaled and pulled them back to within six points, and gave them some hope.
Paul Conroy was driving on the Jimmies at this stage and, when Alan O’Donnell goaled for St James after a handling error from the hugely impressive Alan Burke, it was squeaky bum time for Corofin.
Conroy kicked two more frees in the closing five minutes, but Corofin’s experience saw them sneak past the winning post on a score-line of 2-10 to 2-9. They will know that a display like that second half will not suffice in the semi-final.
In the other quarter-final Gary Cox was Salthill’s best player as they qualified for the semi-final where they will face either Killererin or Mícheál Breathnachs after a 1-9 to 0-10 victory over An Cheathrú Rua at Pearse Stadium.
Sean Armstrong shot 0-6 (5fs ) and Seamie Crowe struck the decisive goal immediately after half time to edge them in front. Alan Kerins was also lively up front and he hit 0-2. Former Galway hurling star David Tierney lined out at midfield for the city men and Conor Healy was also a handful when he was moved into the full-forward line.
Cilín De Paor was impressive for An Cheathrú Rua and hit 0-4 (1f ) from centre-forward. They had other good performers in team captain Micheál Ó Briain, Micheál Antaine Ó Loideáin and Ian Seoige.