Corofin footballers complete historic three-in-a-row

Kieron Molloy and Ciaran McGrath of Corofin with the Frank Cox Cup after winning the Galway Senior Football Championship Final against Mountbellow-Moylough in Tuam Stadium on Sunday. 
Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

Kieron Molloy and Ciaran McGrath of Corofin with the Frank Cox Cup after winning the Galway Senior Football Championship Final against Mountbellow-Moylough in Tuam Stadium on Sunday. Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

Corofin made short work of Mountbellew/Moylough last Sunday in the county senior final to confirm, without doubt, they are the best team in the county, again.

The black and amber men of Mountbellew tried hard all through the contest, but unfortunately, they just could not compete with the midfield dominance of Ronan Steede and hurling star Daithí Burke.

Both men produced impressive displays in the Corofin engine room and once they kept regular supply going up to their high quality forwards,  Martin Farragher, Micheal Lundy, Gary Sice, team captain Michael Farragher and substitute Ian Burke, who kicked 1-3 in 20 minutes, there was only going to be one winner.

When a team beats the other one in GAA by 10 points, their superiority cannot be denied. And Corofin won on a score-line of 3-13 to 0-12.

They could have scored a few more goals, too, if Jason Leonard and Dylan Wall had been more ruthless in front of goal in the second half, and if referee Shane Hehir had not rather severely disallowed two green flag efforts from Gary Sice in the first half.

Mountbellew also were a tad unfortunate in the first half when a goal-bound effort just skimmed the bar. They needed that early goal to give them some momentum and also to give them something to hang onto if Corofin really opened up in their forward division. 

Ronan Steede was sublime

However it was Corofin's Ronan Steede, who had a sublime game and was man-of-the-match, who scored the opening major with a terrific shot on the run that rifled past Brian Donnellan in the Mountbellew goal. 

Steede did not see any championship game time with Galway last season, but based on his display last Sunday, that will change in 2016.

Steede's goal and early point rattled Mountbellew, and when Martin Farragher goaled soon after, with an assist by Liam Silke after an unforced error by the Mountbellew rearguard, the writing was on the wall for a club that last won the senior title in 1986.

The Mountbellew men rallied with a few points, and team captain Cathal Kenny led by example with some good individual efforts, but at half time the scoreboard read 2-6 to 0-8 to the All-Ireland champions. At that stage it was going to take something very special for James Foran and Martin Boyle's team to overtake Stephen Rochford's experienced outfit.

That never looked likely to happen though with 2001 All-Star Kieran Fitzgerald a rock at full-back. Last Sunday was his 10th county senior medal, and the Sylane man has been a magnificent club player for the past decade and a half.

Others who caught the eye in the Corofin rearguard were Padraig Kelly, who had a fine game, Ciarán McGrath, who made some good sallies, and Liam Silke, who produced an impressive marking job on young Michael Daly.

One of Corofin's huge strengths is the options they have off the bench and last Sunday they had calibre in Ian Burke, big Greg Higgins, Cathal Silke, young Kieran Molloy, who is a real flyer, Justin Burke, and a new gang of youngsters such as Brian Raftery, Patrick Madden and Cathal Reilly.

Whether Stephen Rochford goes on to take the Mayo senior manager's job or not in the next few weeks remains to be seen, but if he does, he would love to have four or five players on his subs' bench who could slip seamlessly into the team and improve things on their introduction as he has in Corofin currently.

For Mountbellew, last weekend's defeat was a bitter pill to swallow, especially as they took the same tablet from Corofin in a county final back in 2009. They have some good young players coming into their squad, but   Eoin Finnerty, Michael Daly, Colm Mannion and current minor John Daly will take time to develop and grow into leadership roles.

Like all the other senior teams in Galway, they are still a good bit behind the  high standards this Corofin squad has been setting for the past decade as evidenced by seven county titles since 2006.

Corofin will be most people's favourites to get out of Connacht now and they will face the Leitrim champions Mohill on October 25 at Tuam Stadium.

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