Farragher hat-trick sees Corofin cruise past lacklustre Mary's
Corofin 4-14 St Mary's 2-6
All-Ireland champions Corofin proved far too strong for Sligo champions St Mary's at a windswept Markievicz Park yesterday.
A hat-trick of goals from Martin Farragher propelled the Galway side to a comfortable 14-point win, with the fourth goal coming from Michael Lundy.
That was the first score of the game and came inside the opening three minutes after Dylan Wall was taken down close to goal, and Lundy stepped up to fire the resultant spot-kick low to the net.
Playing with the wind at their backs, Corofin added points from midfielder Ronan Steede and a Gary Sice free before Farragher struck for their second goal on 12 minutes.
He calmly slotted the ball home from close range after Corofin turned over possession in the middle of the park and opened up the home side's defence for Farragher to finish past Fintan Ruddy.
In fairness, Ruddy made a good stop to deny Lundy shortly after, but his side were already struggling, and they only managed their first score after 18 minutes.
That score gave them a lift, however, as impressive full-forward Dylan Kilgallon - son of former Mayo All-Star footballer TJ - broke Mark Breheny's delivery into the path of county minor Kyle Cawley, who directed it to the net.
The Sligo side enjoyed their best spell of the game after this, and added points from Rory Guinan, Breheny and Kilgallon, who helped himself to one of the scores of the game by fielding a ball over his shoulder and finishing on the turn.
But Corofin ensured they were ahead by double scores at the break, 2-6 to 1-3, thanks to points from Ian Burke, Jason Leonard and Lundy.
Unfortunately for St Mary's, the swirling wind turned in the second half, and any advantage they gained was minimal, with Stephen Coen - held scoreless by Kieran Fitzgerald - dropping an early effort at the posts into the keeper's hands.
Wing-forward Colm Egan did manage to land a fine point from play, but amazingly this proved to be his side's only score for the opening 25 minutes of the second half.
Instead Corofin stormed clear, with Farragher, Lundy, Burke and Steede all adding to their tally for the day, before Farragher netted again to end the game as a contest in the 48th minute.
Sice and Lundy combined to set that score up, and the final nail in the coffin involved both once again just six minutes later as Farragher this time sensationally smashed the ball home off the underside of the crossbar.
St Mary's claimed a second goal in the final five minutes when Guinan slid the ball to the net under goalkeeper Tom Healy. And the centre-forward also pointed a free, as did Mark Breheny, as the Sligo side tried to restore some pride late on.
But their afternoon was compounded when county midfielder Cian Breheny, who came on as a half-time substitute, was shown a late black card after clashing with Dylan Wall. Corofin boss Stephen Rochford felt his side's start made all the difference. "We got off to a great start, getting the goal early in those conditions," he said. "We knew we had to get on the front foot against them, and that was a great settler for us. The second goal came at a great time as well, and we haven't been getting off to great starts this year compared to last year, so that was promising for us."
Scorers - Corofin: Martin Farragher 3-2 (1f), M Lundy 1-3 (1-0 pen), I Burke 0-4, R Steede 0-2, J Leonard, L Silke and G Sice (1f) 0-1 each. St Mary's: R Guinan 1-2 (2f), K Cawley 1-0, M Breheny 0-2 (2f), D Kilgallon and C Egan 0-1 each.
Corofin - T Healy; P Kelly, K Fitzgerald, A Burke; C McGrath, C Cunningham, L Silke; Michael Farragher, R Steede; G Sice, D Wall, M Lundy; J Leonard, I Burke, Martin Farragher. Subs: G Higgins for A Burke (h-t), B O'Donovan for Leonard (39), C Silke for Kelly (48), K Molloy for McGrath (50), S Monaghan for I Burke (52), J Burke for Sice (54).
St Mary's - F Ruddy; S Keenan, J Martyn, L Henry; N McManus, J Davey, G O'Kelly-Lynch; M Butler, B Smith; M Breheny, R Guinan, C Egan; K Cawley, D Kilgallon, S Coen. Subs: C Breheny for Cawley (h-t), J Lynch for McManus (42), P Kilcoyne for Smith (55), N Rooney for Kilgallon (58), C Kelly for C Breheny (black card 60).
Ref - L Devenney (Mayo)