Joyces combine to relieve Corofin of crown
In two post-match interviews from protagonists on either side, the word 'cuteness' was called upon to explain how Killererin had claimed a sixth title.
In football, cuteness is not an aesthetic virtue; it's the capacity to do the right thing at the right time, the ability not to panic when things are running against you.
In that sense, Killererin had the monopoly on it in Pearse Stadium yesterday, even against the champions of the last two years and by far the most successful club team of the modern era in the county.
For Corofin it was their first Galway final defeat since the 1994 reversal to Tuam Stars, breaking a sequence of eight county final successes in the intervening years.
No Galway team had completed three-in-a-row since the wonderful Tuam team, complete with Sean Purcell and Frank Stockwell, in the 1950s and this was the 50th anniversary of their seven-in-a-row, the last time three or more titles were successively strung together.
So, the failure to bridge that 50-year gap added to the disappointment for Corofin, who played well below the standards they had reached over the previous two seasons.
For the second time in less than 24 hours, Galway and Connacht champions were being bundled out of their respective championships following Portumna's shock exit from the hurling.
No one illustrated that stated 'cuteness' more than the trio of Joyces, brothers Tommie and Padraic and cousin Nicky, who have backboned this Killererin effort since 1999, when they landed the club's third title.
They have added three more in the meantime and from a long way off, they've had a good feeling about 2010. Tommie Joyce was player/manager, helping to exert control at midfield in a dominant first-half display when they took a three-point, 1-5 to 1-2, lead in at the interval having played against a stiff breeze.
Padraic Joyce, who gets married next weekend, didn't score from play and rarely threatened in difficult conditions made worse by substantial showers just before throw-in.
But some of his touches were sublime and as ever he put himself in all the right places when Killererin's lead needed defending in either half.
Killererin were always likely to stand or fall, however, on what Nicky Joyce could bring to the game and, thankfully for them, he was on song from early on, troubling county colleague Damien Burke sufficiently to force a complete change of policy from Corofin after the break.
Nicky finished with 1-5, 1-2 from play, with his final point on 52 minutes to restore a two-point advantage probably pushing a low-scoring affair beyond Corofin's reach.
There were other significant contributors for the new champions. Colin Forde, the All-Ireland-minor-winning full-back in 2007, never put a foot wrong, while big midfielder Thomas Hughes kept Greg Higgins in check, particularly in the first half.
Up front, Michael Boyle and Ger Butler had threatening pace and awareness in the corners and their ability to keep and recycle the ball was key to Killererin's success.
"We had that little bit of hunger, that little bit of cuteness," admitted Nicky Joyce. "We held on to the ball when we had to and we wanted it that little bit more in the last few minutes."
It was competitive throughout, but as a pointer to the future of Galway football, it wasn't wholly encouraging. New manager Tomas O Flaharta won't have gleaned too much from it except confirmation that Galway isn't blessed with an abundance of quality right now.
Forde aside, there wasn't much to take from it, though Mike Farragher did amass 1-3 for Corofin and was one of about three players who measured up or beyond expectation for the champions.
Farragher started at corner-forward, but went to midfield in a reshuffle after half-time and for almost 15 minutes the tide swung in Corofin's favour. Alan Burke's switch on to Nicky Joyce also helped, while Alan O'Donovan landed a magnificent free from 40 metres and a point from play off his left foot to give Corofin real impetus in the third quarter.
Killererin's half-time lead perhaps should have been more. After Farragher's goal on 26 minutes against the run of play when Kieran McGrath's point attempt fell into the hands of Joe Canney in the goalmouth, the response at the other end was swift, as Nicky Joyce rose to bat home Ger Butler's well-placed delivery.
Corofin goalkeeper David Morris had to save smartly from Butler minutes later after Nicky Joyce's incisive pass opened up the defence in front of him, but Jonathan Keane's point ensured the interval lead would be healthy in the conditions and the environment of a low-scoring game.
The pace kept picking up after the break and by the 43rd minute O'Donovan had kicked Corofin into a 1-7 to 1-6 lead.
But the well dried up after that as Killererin established control again through Butler, Nicky Joyce (two) and finally Padraic Joyce from a free.
For Tommie Joyce, making the most out of limited resources has become an art in Killererin. "We have a small pool of resources, but we try and break one good lad into the team every year," he said.
Corofin manager Gerry Keane felt Pearse Stadium would suit them, but admitted his side didn't play to their full potential.
"We were quietly confident. We thought Pearse Stadium would suit us, an open pitch and younger legs, but on the day the bit of cuteness from Killererin helped them to get the upper hand," he said.
"We've got to an All-Ireland semi-final two years in a row, it does takes its toll, no doubt about it. It's a serious commitment. We have no complaints however. The better team won."
Scorers -- Killererin: N Joyce 1-5 (0-3f), P Joyce 0-3 (3f), J Keane, G Butler 0-1 each. Corofin: M Farragher 1-3, A O'Donovan 0-3 (2f), T Costello 0-1.
Killererin -- A Keane; D Flaherty, C Forde, D Kelly; I Reddington, D Mannion, T Fahy; T Joyce, T Hughes; T Flynn, N Joyce, J Keane; M Boyle, P Joyce, G Butler.
Corofin -- D Morris; G Delaney, K Fitzgerald, P Kelly; D Keane, D Burke, G Sice; G Higgins, K Comer; K McGrath, A Burke, R Steede; M Farragher, J Canney, A O'Donovan. Subs: T Costello for Keane (h-t), C Silke for Kelly (40), A Donnellan for Canney (58).
Ref -- Frank Kinneen.