Corofin (Galway) 1-14 St Vincent’s (Dublin) 1-9
Corofin produced an hour of scintillating football to put an end to St Vincent’s reign as AIB All-Ireland senior club football champions.
This semi-final at O’Connor Park had everything you could wish for and Corofin showed plenty character to go with their well-thought out game-plan to prevail.
You wondered if it was going to be their day when Gary Delaney saw his well-struck 23rd minute penalty rebound off the crossbar. Within a minute, St Vincent’s had a penalty at the other end and Mossy Quinn made no mistake. Brendan Egan followed up with a point almost immediately there was a sense that a key series of events had transpired.
Significantly though, Stephen Rochford’s charges retained their composure and their faith in what they had been doing. Six minutes after Delaney’s unlucky miss, they found the Vincent’s net.
They managed to open up the opposition defence on numerous occasions throughout the hour and when Michael Lundy broke through onto a breaking ball, he slipped a pass to Farragher, whose scuffed shot crept over the line.
St Vincent’s have cause to grumble in that they were denied a clearcut penalty in the 35th minute when Ciaran McGrath threw himself on Ciaran Dorney’s goalbound shot as the ball rolled along the sod.
In truth though, Corofin were the better side, with Lundy giving an exhibition as a roaming full-forward who scored four points from play and also had a hand in a host of other scores. Ian Burke and Martin Farragher completed a deadly attacking line.
The defensive unit deserves credit too as David Connolly and Quinn were blunted almost completely. Liam Silke and McGrath were the direct markers but with Connolly in particular, it was rarely a one-man assignment.
The first half was brilliant to watch. It was nip and tuck early on with the teams level three times in the opening 12 minutes. Sice’s converted free which made it 0-3 apiece was the start of a run of eight scores in as many minutes, which brought it to 0-7 to 0-5 prior to the first penalty.
Burke and Lundy provided some excellent points, while Ruairi Treanor and Dorney were providing the positives for the Vinnies in attack, with Connolly and Quinn well shackled.
In truth, the 1-8 to 1-6 interval lead didn’t do justice to Corofin’s first-half superiority. Points from Lundy and Burke doubled their advantage and after the controversy of the missed penalty by Padraig Hughes and his umpires, Burke converted a free after he had been fouled himself to stretch the margin to five.
You waited for the champions to rally and Connolly landed two points before Quinn lofted a 40m free over the bar. Suddenly, it was a two-point game with 14 minutes of normal time remaining.
Connolly missed an opportunity to eat further into the gap though with a rare wide and Cathal Silke blocked Treanor’s attempt at a goal to keep Tommy Conroy’s men at bay.
Instead, when Hugh Gill failed to gather a long ball, Burke swooped to gather possession and drive over. A Sice free made things more comfortable and Farragher provided a fitting ending with a wonderful point.
Scorers – Corofin: I Burke 0-5(1f); M Farragher 1-2; M Lundy 0-4, G Sice 0-3
St Vincent’s: T Quinn 1-1 (1-0pen, 0-1f); D Connolly 0-3(1f); R Treanor 0-2; C Dorney, B Egan, S Carthy 0-1 each
Corofin: T Healy, C McGrath, K Fitzgerald, C Silke, D Burke, L Silke, A Burke, G Higgins, R Steede, G Sice, G Delaney, M Farragher, M Farragher, M Lundy, I Burke. Subs: D Wall for Steede (53), J Burke for Farragher (60+1)3
St Vincent’s: M Savage, Cameron Diamond, J Curley, H Gill, B Egan, G Brennan, M Concarn, E Fennell, G Burke, Cormac Diamond, D Connolly, S Carthy, R Treanor, C Dorney, T Quinn. Subs: T Diamond for Cormac Diamond (36), G Murphy for Dorney (41), E Brady for Concarn (55)
Referee: P Hughes (Armagh)