Corofin power to their sixth provincial title

There is always something genuinely special about a day when your home club wins a big match and collects an important trophy.

And last Sunday was that day for all Corofin supporters when their team collected their sixth Connacht senior title, decisively defeating Mayo champions Ballintubber by 2-13 to 1-07 with a marvellous performance.

It was the first time since 2009 the club has won the Shane McGettigan Trophy, and the victory and quality of the performance eased the indisputable disappointments of their contentious one-point defeat to St Brigid's in 2011 in the Connacht final, and Castlebar Mitchels’ big win at Tuam Stadium last season.

The current Corofin squad and management team is an extremely ambitious group of players and mentors, and will want to build on last Sunday's success with another win over Tír Conall Gaels, the London champions, in two weeks’ time.

A victory in that fixture in Ruislip would set up a semi-final in February, with either St Vincents (Dublin ) or Rhode (Offaly ).

Corofin in control from the off

Corofin were in control from pillar to post, and they were far superior to Peter Ford's team in almost all facets of play.

The pace and workrate of Ian Burke, Gary Sice, Michael Lundy and the influential Michael Farragher up front had the Ballintubber defence in real trouble from the get-go.

Despite really dominating the opening half, Stephen Rochford's team had to be content with a 0-07 to 0-04 interval lead, and that was a cause of some concern considering how dominant Corofin had been.

Ian Burke had a superb first 20 minutes and shot some glorious points in that time. His display reminded a lot of supporters of his sublime point-taking in the 2013 All-Ireland final against Cork down at the Gaelic Grounds.

Eight minutes into the second half the rampant Gary Sice drilled home a goal following a magnificent kicked pass from Gary Delaney to his team captain Michael Farragher, which cut out two defenders and was then offloaded to the hard-running Sice.

Another super foot pass three minutes later, this time by Farragher to Sice, set up Ian Burke for another goal, and the game was as good as over as Corofin were 2-09 to 0-4 in front and lording proceedings.

It was a really fantastic team performance by the Galway champions - from Thomas Healy in goal up to Ian Burke at top of the left, there was no real weak link to be seen.

Kieran Fitzgerald was solid at full-back and even sallied up the field to score an inspirational punched point early in the second half which really rubber stamped Corofin's grip on the game.

Liam Silke did a terrific man-marking job on Alan Dillon all through, and dynamic wing-back Ciaran McGrath took the ball out of defence with great gusto on numerous occasions.

Greg Higgins was also impressive in a holding role, and he and Gary Delaney linked play effectively, with Delaney hitting some lovely passes throughout the contest.

At midfield Ronan Steede and Daithí Burke complemented each other well and held sway over their counterparts, and up front, Burke, Sice, Lundy and the Farragher brothers had far too much guile and pace for the Ballintubber rearguard.

All-Ireland minor winner with Galway in 1986, John Mitchell from Caherlistrane, mentioned to me after the game: "The team that beats Corofin will win the All-Ireland."

His comment was fair and logical, as that has happened on four separate occasions in the past 23 years at the semi-final stage of this competition.

No doubt this group of players will not want it to happen to the club for a fifth time, at either quarter-final stage, or at any other juncture.

Based on what they produced last weekend and over the past few months, they are in a good place and will take some stopping.

COROFIN: Thomas Healy, Gary Delaney (0-01 ), Kieran Fitzgerald (0-01 ), Cathal Silke, Ciarán McGrath, Liam Silke, Alan Burke, Daithí Burke, Ronan Steede (0-01 ), Gary Sice (1-2 ), Mike Farragher (Cpt ) (0-01 ); Micheál Lundy (0-01 ), Martin Farragher (0-01 ), Greg Higgins, Ian Burke (1-5, 0-1f ). Subs used: Dylan Wall, Conor Cunningham, Joe Canney, Padraic Kelly, Mikey Comer.

Fográ: The All Ireland quarter final between Tír Conall Gaels (Londain ) and Corofin has been fixed for Sunday December 14 in Ruislip (1pm ). (Extra time if necessary ).


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