Corofin overcome controversial early red card to advance past Moorefield with late goal
Corofin 1-6 Moorefield 0-6
Corofin are still chasing a third All-Ireland senior football club title after surviving a scare from Moorefield of Kildare in Tullamore.
The favourites had to deal with the shock red card dismissal of full forward Martin Farragher in only the second minute, who was wrongly accused of striking Liam Healy with his knee after the Moorefield full back spectacularly won a high ball.
The game’s other most dramatic moment came in the final minute when Liam Silke scored a brilliant goal, haring up the field to take an Ian Burke pass and smack the ball past Tom Kinsella. Corofin, who won their second All-Ireland three years ago, will meet the winners of next Saturday’s second semi-final between Slaughtneil and Nemo Rangers on March 17. That last All-Ireland success was characterised by brilliant attacking football. They haven’t show the same flair this season but they are still managing to carve out wins.
They are likely to appeal the Farragher red card, a clear miscarriage of justice, with referee Derek O’Mahoney making the call after consulting a linesman. Healy didn’t cover himself in glory either by feigning injury and making a huge deal of a nothing incident.
But Corofin survived on their wits after a dull low-scoring match that won’t offer much to the end of season highlights reel. The sides were level at 0-2 a piece at half time. Moorefield used Liam Callaghan as their spare man but still found it hard break down Corofin’s massed defence. The Galway side forced them to shoot from distance which they didn’t execute with much distinction.
It took Moorefield, who lost captain Daryl Flynn to injury, 14 minutes to open their account, David Whyte pointing after good work by James Murray. But others efforts, five point attempts in the opening half, sailed wide, while one struck a post and a shot from Ronan Sweeney dropped short. A 45 from Eanna O’Connor also failed to make the distance after he lost his footing on the soft ground.
Corofin went ahead after 13 scoreless minutes following a mistake by the Moorefield goalkeeper Kinsella that allowed Micheal Lundy steal his short kick out, and Colin Brady placed Jason Leonard for an easy score. Whyte’s equaliser a minute later was answered by a Gary Sice free in the 20th minute to restore Corofin’s lead. But Moorefield were level two minutes from half time when O’Connor won and pointed a free from close range.
Corofin missed a glorious chance of a goal in first half injury time when Ian Burke’s pass picked out Lundy, who turned inside his man but dragged the shot wide.
On the restart Corofin found an extra gear and powered three points clear with scores from Sice (a free), Ian Burke and Ronan Steede. Kieran Fitzgerald had to save Steede’s blushes 12 minutes into the half when O’Connor’s free dropped short and Steede spilled the ball but the goal chance quickly evaporated when the Corofin full back won back the ball.
Then, out of nowhere, Moorefield found their scoring boots. O’Connor had their first point of the second half 18 minutes in, a free, and Aaron Mullins and James Murray, who was outstanding, had two more in as many minutes to level the teams at six points each. Sice restored the Corofin lead with eight minutes left and when Cian O’Connor pointed with five to go it looked destined for extra time.
Sice saw a free drop short as the nerves began to tell and they felt enormous relief when a quick break up the field ended with Silke’s cool finish to see them home. They will need to be much better come the final.
Scorers: Corofin - G Sice 0-3 (0-3 fs); L Silke 1-0; J Leonard, R Steede, I Burke 0-1. Moorefield - E O’Connor 0-2 (0-2 fs); D Whyte, C O’Connor, A Mullins, J Murray 0-1.
Corofin: B Power; L Silke, K Fitzgerald, C Silke; Michael Farragher, D Wall, K Molloy; D Burke, R Steede; M Lundy, G Sice, J Leonard; C Brady, Martin Farragher, I Burke.
Subs: B O’Donovan for Brady (50 mins); C Cunningham for Farragher (62); for Wall (62); D McHugh for Wall (62).
Moorefield: T Kinsella; L Callaghan, L Healy, M Dempsey; J Murray, K Murnaghan, S Healy; D Whyte, A Masterson; C O’Connor, A Durney; N Hurley Lynch, R Sweeney, E O’Connor.
Subs: A Tyrrell for Durney (35 mins); I Meehan for Heavey (41); M Murray for Tyyrell (black card 45); A Mullins for Hurley-Lynch (46); A Sweeney for Whyte (62).
Referee: D O’Mahoney (Tipperary).