By Cóilín Duffy
Corofin and Ballintubber will meet in the AIB Connacht Senior Football Final for the second time since 2011 on November 23, following wins over Aughawillan and St Brigids respectively this afternoon.
Five-time Connacht champions Corofin bagged seven second half goals as they claimed a comfortable 7-20 to 0-6 win over Leitrim side Aughawillan at Pairc Sean MacDiarmuida in Carrick-on-Shannon.
Michael Lundy bagged a hat-trick, while Martin Farragher scored two goals, with Ian Burke and Joe Canney also getting in on the goal-scoring action, as Corofin ran rampant in the second half.
Stephen Rochford’s side may have won by an impressive 35-point margin, but it was Aughawillan who started brightly, with Ciaran Gilheaney opening their account, after Colin Maguire had pulled off a fine save at the opposite end.
However, this was as good as it got for the Leitrim champions as scores from Dylan Wall, Michael Lundy and Gary Sice propelled Corofin to a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after five minutes, and they never looked back.
A Gary Plunkett point cut the gap on a 0-4 to 0-3 score-line midway through the half, but Corofin would tag on 1-9 without reply, including seven points before the interval.
Greg Higgins became Corofin’s seventh scorer, after his point handed Corofin a 0-9 to 0-3 lead after 26 mins, and with Wall and Sice adding further points it ensured an 0-11 to 0-3 interval score-line.
Farragher claimed Corofin’s first goal three minutes after the restart, with his second goal coming in the 40th minute to see his side move 2-15 to 0-5 in front.
There were goals galore with Lundy and Burke quickly extending Corofin’s lead to 23 points.
Lundy’s hat-trick was completed in the final quarter, with Canney adding Corofin’s seventh goal late on to ensure an emphatic win.
At MacHale Park, Ballintubber were pushed all the way before claiming a 3-10 to 1-13 win over St. Brigids of Roscommon to advance to their first ever provincial decider.
Cillian O’Connor fired 1-3 for the Mayo champions, including a 52nd minute goal, with his brother Padraic also finding the back of the Brigid’s net, in a game which saw the O’Connors score 2-5 between them.
Goals from Padraic O’Connor and Alan Plunkett helped provide the platform for a 2-4 to 0-7 interval lead, with Senan Kilbride doing his utmost to keep Brigid’s in touch, with four points in the opening half an hour.
Frankie Dolan helped to level the tie on the restart, but Mayo Senior player Alan Dillon was impressive and claimed two excellent points to push his side in front.
A Karol Mannion goal saw Brigid’s reclaim the lead after 44 minutes, but Ballintubber dug deep.
Points from Padraic O’Connor, Stephen Broderick and Alan Plunkett pushed Ballintubber ahead, before Cillian O’Connor slotted the ball to the net in a seven-minute spell which saw his side register an unanswered 1-3.
Brigid’s pushed hard until the end, but Ballintubber stood firm as they held out for a three-point win over the four-time Connacht champions.