Full-forward Martin Farragher stole the show with a sparkling 3-2 as the Galway kingpins, with Michael Lundy, Ronan Steede and Ian Burke also putting in eye-catching displays, strolled towards a showdown against Mayo’s Castlebar Mitchels on November 22.
Two goals in the opening 12 minutes — Michael Lundy’s cool penalty conversion and a crisp finish from Martin Farragher — set up the holders for a clinical display, and by the 14th minute, they led by nine points, 2-3 to 0-0, in conditions spoiled by a cross-field breeze.
Corofin boss Stephen Rochford, the next Mayo manager, agreed that his side’s no-nonsense opening provided the platform for a 14-point win.
“That start gave us a great foundation. You are coming up against county champions at every turn in this competition and you can’t afford to let anybody get a head start on you.
“You have to take the game to the opposition and we got those two goals at great times. We haven’t been as good with our starts to games — compared to last year — so what we did against St Mary’s was promising.”
He added: “A lot of things went to plan for us and, thankfully, I don’t think we picked up any fresh injuries. It was a positive day’s work, all in all.”
St Mary’s, who had no answer to Corofin’s overall power, found that their mistakes were consistently punished but an 18th-minute goal from teenager Kyle Cawley, who starred in Sligo’s county final, briefly jolted the visitors.
But Corofin, who started without inter-county hurler Daithi Burke, still looked comfortable with a six-point interval lead, 2-6 to 1-3, with only a handful of St Mary’s players showing the necessary aptitude for this level, among them former Sligo player Johnny Davey and ex-Offaly man Rory Guinan.
The second-half pattern remained the same with Corofin looking capable of moving through the gears when needed.
Corofin’s third and fourth goals — both from the deadly Martin Farragher — came in the last 12 minutes. Earlier, Michael Lundy blazed over and was also denied by a tidy save from St Mary’s net-minder Fintan Ruddy.
St Mary’s bagged a consolation goal in the 56th minute when the industrious Rory Guinan netted from close-range after an exchange of passes with Dylan Kilgallon.
Martin Farragher (3-2, 1f), Michael Lundy (1-3), Ian Burke (0-4), Ronan Steede (0-2), Gary Sice (0-1, 1f), Jason Leonard (0-1), Liam Silke (0-1)
Rory Guinan (1-2, 2f), Kyle Cawley (1-0), Mark Breheny (0-2, 2f), Colm Egan, Dylan Kilgallon (0-1 each)
T Healy, P Kelly, K Fitzgerald, C Cunningham, C McGrath, A Burke, L Silke, Michael Farragher, R Steede, G Sice, M Lundy, D Wall, J Leonard, Martin Farragher, I Burke
G Higgins for A Burke (ht); B O’Donovan for J Leonard (38); C Silke for P Kelly (48); K Molloy for C McGrath (50); S Monaghan for I Burke (52); J Burke for G Sice (54)
F Ruddy, S Keenan, J Martyn, L Henry, N McManus, J Davey, G O’Kelly-Lynch, M Butler, B Smith, D Kilgallon, R Guinan, C Egan, K Cawley, S Coen, M Breheny
C Breheny for K Cawley (ht); J Lynch for N McManus (42); P Kilcoyne for B Smith (55); N Rooney for C Egan (58); C Kelly for C Breheny (60+1) (black card)
Liam Devenney (Mayo)