Corofin’s surge for seven on spin powers on

Corofin’s surge for seven on spin powers on
Finian Hanley, Salthill Knocknacarra, wriggles away from Ross Mahon and Kieran Molloy, Corofin, in the Galway SFC semi-final at Tuam Stadium. Picture: Ray Ryan

Corofin 1-16 - 2-9 Salthill/Knocknacarra

Corofin manager Kevin O’Brien is confident former county players Micheál Lundy and Kieran Fitzgerald will be back fit in time for their defence of the Galway SFC in two weeks.

Lundy and Fitzgerald were not risked because of muscle injuries but the reigning All-Ireland champions still had too much firepower for Salthill/Knocknacarra as they continue their quest for a seventh Galway title in a row.

A goal from Ronan Steede helped Corofin build a 1-9 to 0-4 half-time lead in Tuam Stadium on Saturday, but goals from Robert Finnerty and Andrew Butler gave the city side some hope.

“They got a goal and a run on us. They created some chances and hit the bar as well,” said O’Brien.

“We probably got away with it. We went too far ahead and took our mind off it.

“That is the disappointing aspect of it but it’s something to work for for the next two weeks.

“We are trying to improve all the time but we have a lot of work to do.”

Corofin have been the best team in Ireland for the past two years and haven’t lost a Galway SFC match since 2012. And the signs were ominous for the Salthill/Knocknacarra when they trailed by 0-5 to 0-0 after the opening quarter.

In the county championship so far, Corofin haven’t hit the heights that saw them decimate Dr Croke’s at Croke Park on St Patrick’s Day, but they showed glimpses here.

Ian Burke flashed an early goal chance wide but Dylan Wall scored the first point in the third minute and that was closely followed by two brilliantly-taken Martin Farragher efforts.

Corofin were in control and Ian Burke made up for his earlier miss with a fisted point before he had the time and space to turn and slot a second score in the 15th minute.

Salthill/Knocknacarra finally registered a point when Paddy Culhane landed a free in the 16th minute and Robert Finnerty scored after Jason Leonard’s first point.

Corofin were against the breeze in the first-half but Gary Sice gave them a 0-7 to 0-2 lead before back-to-back points from Gearoid Armstrong and Rob Finnerty.

The possibility of a comeback was snuffed out when Steede’s delivery went straight in over the head of goalkeeper Ruairí Lavelle and into the Salthill/Knocknacarra net.

It was a devastating blow in the 26th minute and Corofin were eight points up at half-time.

Leonard (two) and Gary Sice extended the lead after half-time but Cathal Sweeney was hauled down for a penalty in the 46th minute.

Robert Finnerty scored the goal for Salthill/Knocknacarra and even though substitute Andrew Butler added a second, in added time, the champions advanced.

Scorers for Corofin: R Steede (1-1), J Leonard (0-4, 0-2 f, 0-2 45), G Sice (0-3, 0-2 f); I Burke (0-3); Martin Farragher (0-2); D McHugh, D Wall, Michael Farragher (0-1 each).

Scorers for Salthill/Knocknacarra: R Finnerty (1-4, 1-0 pen, 0-3 f); A Butler (1-1); G Armstrong (0-2); P Culhane (0-1 f), R Lavelle (45) (0-1 each).

COROFIN: B Power; R Mahon, C Silke, L Silke; C McGrath, D McHugh, C Cunningham; K Molloy, R Steede; G Sice, D Wall, J Leonard; I Burke, Martin Farragher, D Silke.

Subs for Corofin: G Burke for L Silke (46), Michael Farragher for Cunningham (49), Colin Brady for D Silke (56), C Newell for Sice (56), Ciaran Brady for Leonard (60), D Canney for Wall (61).

SALTHILL/KNOCKNACARRA: R Lavelle; D Connaughton, E McFadden, W Finnerty; E Tinney, F Hanley, G Duffy; J Maher, R Butler; S Ó Leidhinn, G Armstrong, M Mac Donnchadha; C Sweeney, R Finnerty, P Culhane.

Subs for Salthill/Knocknacarra: M Culhane for Butler (30), R Walzer for P Culhane (45), A Butler for Tinney (49), A Halloran for Mac Donnchadha (56).

Referee: Austin O’Connell.

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