Corofin ride on as boss remains coy on Mayo job
Corofin 3-13 Mountbellew 0-12
Stephen Rochford knew the question was coming and, in fairness, he didn't dodge it.
He had just presided over another glory day for Corofin but given the links with the managerial vacancy in his native Mayo, it was inevitable that he would have to deal with an issue that's of broad interest in the football world.
So is he in line to be the new Mayo manager?
"Look, I haven't had any communication from the Mayo County Board. I have said before that I would love to manage Mayo but whether that's now or in the future, I'm not really sure.
"I have been totally focused on Corofin - the club and the people have always backed me to the hilt so trying to win another county title has been my sole aim," he said.
So would he take the Mayo job, if he were offered it?
"With an inter-county job, you have to take a lot of factors into account. I'm working in Roscommon and I'm managing a team in Galway that will now be challenging for the Connacht Championship.
"It's a dream of mine to manage Mayo but whether that materialises now or sometime in the future - time will tell," he said.
His immediate priority is to re-adjust Corofin's sights as they bid for another Connacht title, beginning with a clash against Leitrim champions Mohill on Sunday week.
The defending All-Ireland champions will take a whole lot of confidence into the provincial campaign after winning a third successive Galway title - their 17th overall - in Tuam Stadium yesterday.
They did it with another ultra-efficient performance which stretched Mountbellew-Moylough past breaking point in the final quarter.
Corofin started that phase with a four-point lead (2-8 to 0-10) after surviving heavy pressure over the previous 10 minutes but once they regained the initiative, they kicked for home, leaving Mountbellew with no answer.
Corofin won the final quarter by 1-5 to 0-2, powering them 10 points clear as they underlined once again why they are such a powerful force.
Their form en route to the final had been patchy and with Mountbellew improving all the way on the other side of the draw, they were quite hopeful of ending the 29-year wait for the title.
They are an emerging team but, on this occasion, they were very much second best to Rochford's squad.
That was hardly surprising since Corofin had beaten the best in Connacht and the rest of the country en route to winning the All-Ireland title last St Patrick's Day.
The big question centred on whether Corofin had retained the desire and ambition which has made them so formidable and the answer emerged in the first minute when midfielder Ronan Steede - who was later named man of the match - galloped through from the throw-in and kicked a point.
It settled Corofin into an impressive rhythm and while Mountbellew-Moylough worked extremely hard, they expended a huge amount of energy, which may have left them drained in the final quarter.
It was level after 19 minutes but then Corofin struck for a goal from Steede, who timed his run from midfield to perfection. Martin Farragher struck for a second goal in the 23rd minute and, by half-time, Corofin were four points ahead (2-6 to 0-8).
It should have been more but they missed some excellent goal chances.
"We were only four points up at half-time but we had five goal chances. We got two goals but we should have taken one or two others as well. That would have been more reflective of how well we were doing, especially around the middle of the field.
"In fairness, we were working very hard all over the pitch. It's that selfless aspect that I'm most happy with now," said Rochford.
In general, Corofin were that bit cuter than Mountbellew and while veteran Joe Bergin, who completed his 18th championship season, did his best to bring order to his side's efforts, Steede and county hurling star Daithi Burke won lots of possession in the middle third.
Martin Farragher and sub Ian Burke each scored 1-3 from open play as Corofin made it very clear that their ambition levels are as high as ever.
"We'll mount another campaign in Connacht - see where it takes us," said Rochford.
Scorers - Corofin: Martin Farragher 1-4(1f), I Burke 1-3, R Steede 1-1, J Leonard (f), M Lundy, D Wall, G Sice (f), K Murphy 0-1 each. Mountbellew-Moylough: C Kenny 0-8 (7f), B McHugh 0-2, B Donnellan (f), E Finnerty 0-1 each.
Corofin - T Healy; P Kelly, K Fitzgerald, C Cunningham; C McGrath, A Burke, L Silke; D Burke, R Steede; G Sice, M Lundy, D Wall; J Leonard, Martin Farragher, Michael Farragher.
Subs: I Burke for Leonard (40), K Molloy for Cunningham (52), C Silke for Kelly (54), S Monaghan for Wall (57), J Canney for Martin Farragher (58), K Murphy for Sice (58).
Mountbellew-Moylough - B Donnellan; G Sweeney, D Hogan, C Duffy; C Mannion, C Colleran, A McHugh; J Bergin, M Barrett; S Boyle, M Daly, P Donnellan; C Kenny, E Finnerty, B McHugh. Subs: A Sweeney for Colleran (43), N McDonagh for A McHugh (43), J Meehan for P Donnellan (56), S Sweeney for Daly (56), D McHugh for Hogan (59).