Tuesday 17 September 2019

Corofin's lethal Leonard leads rout of 14-man Clann na nGael

Corofin 4-22 Clann na nGael 0-7

Ultan Harney of Clann na nGael is tackled by Corofin’s Cathal Silke in their Connacht SFC semi-final. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Ultan Harney of Clann na nGael is tackled by Corofin’s Cathal Silke in their Connacht SFC semi-final. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

At half-time yesterday someone suggested they bolt the doors of Dr Hyde Park to ensure newly-appointed Roscommon football boss Anthony Cunningham, who was watching from the stands in his first week in the job, didn't make a run for it.

They were probably only half-joking, because Clann na nGael had just put down a truly disastrous half of football.

Jason Leonard of Corofin in action against Dylan Summer, left, and Shane Pettit of Clann na nGael. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Jason Leonard of Corofin in action against Dylan Summer, left, and Shane Pettit of Clann na nGael. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Corofin led by 2-10 to 0-3, with Clann's first score from play only coming in first-half injury-time when Cathal Shine steered one over.

Corofin started without All Star Ian Burke, who sat out the game with a minor rib injury, as well as Dáithí Burke, who is in Sydney with the Galway hurlers, but they set the tone early.

Lashed

Playing their fifth game in seven weekends, they showed no signs of fatigue as Colin Brady - brought into the side for Ian Burke - lashed to the net after four minutes after a move that tore the home side apart.

That was the first sign that Clann were in for a tough day at the office.

Kieran Molloy of Corofin wins back possession from Emmet Kenny of Clann na nGael to set up his side's second goal. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Kieran Molloy of Corofin wins back possession from Emmet Kenny of Clann na nGael to set up his side's second goal. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Micheál Lundy opened his account on 22 minutes to make it 1-8 to 0-2 to the Galway champions and while Clann looked like a team desperate for half-time, worse was to come.

In three minutes before the break they conceded a second goal, saw Donie Shine black carded, while Ultan Harney was shown a straight red after he appeared to catch Dylan Wall as he lay on the ground.

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The goal was entirely preventable. A Mike Farragher shot looked to be going wide and everyone seemed to give up on the ball, with the exception of Kieran Molloy. He managed to keep it in play and feed Lundy, who goaled from close range.

That score helped the reigning All-Ireland champions take a 2-10 to 0-3 lead in at the break.

Graham Pettit of Clann na nGael is tackled by Martin Farragher of Corofin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Graham Pettit of Clann na nGael is tackled by Martin Farragher of Corofin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

It was clear that there was no way back for the Roscommon men, but it actually got worse for Clann.

With Corofin's tails up and with an extra man, they set about running up the score. They goaled again 40 seconds after the restart, with Man of the Match Jason Leonard finding himself clear of the cover.

He'd grab another goal, palming to the net from close range after a sweeping move, but by that stage it was little more than a training game, with Corofin taking the chance to run their bench and withdraw the likes of veteran Gary Sice.

However, the subs played like men with a point to prove, with Dylan Canney and Darragh Silke making their presence felt. The Galway men finished with 4-22, but could have bagged more.

Jamie Fahy of Clann na nGael is tackled by Ciaran Brady of Corofin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Jamie Fahy of Clann na nGael is tackled by Ciaran Brady of Corofin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Afterwards, manager Kevin O'Brien heaped praise on his players for their attitude after a hectic schedule.

"We're delighted with the performance," he reflected. "The last few weeks we have been out five of seven weeks and we'd a tough county semi-final and then into the final as well.

"Today was a big thing about being mentally ready for the game and the lads deserve huge praise for doing that after winning a county title last week and celebrating it and to be ready again for a game. The lads deserve huge praise for that."

Having been taken to extra-time by the Roscommon champions of last year, St Brigid's, O'Brien admitted he expected a stiffer test, but believes the sending-off of Harney had a big influence on the game.

"Coming down to Roscommon you don't expect anything easy. The sending off had a big bearing on the game," he said. "We started the game well which had a big impact and the conditions, the middle of November but the pitch was lovely and it suits our play."

Corofin have a two-week break before they take on Mayo champions Ballintubber in the Connacht final and O'Brien believes the strength of his side lies in the depth of the panel.

"It's important and that's a lot of our appetite. Darragh Silke and Dylan Canney came in and Barry O'Donovan, Gizzy was back, Gavin Burke, and Kevin Murphy was nearly in as well and they add to our squad and to our training as well.

"We have a lot of lads playing good football at the same standard. You need that and that drives the team as well."

"You're always trying to reinvent yourselves and focus on training and try and keep lads interested by playing football and even in training we play football all the time and they respond to that. But they deserve a lot of praise for guys who are on the road five, six years constantly, to be ready to put in a performance again today."

SCORERS - Corofin: J Leonard 2-6 (3f 1 45), M Lundy 1-3, C Brady 1-1, D Canney, D Wall, D Silke, G Sice (1f) 0-2 each, L Silke, R Steede, Martin Farragher, Mike Farragher 0-1 each

Clann na nGael: D Shine 0-2 (2f), E Kenny, C Shine, C Callinan, C Lennon (1f) J Dunning 0-1 each

Corofin - B Power; C Silke, K Fitzgerald, L Silke; K Molloy, D McHugh, D Wall; C Brady, R Steede; G Sice, Mike Farragher, J Leonard; Martin Farragher, C Brady, M Lundy Subs: C Cunningham for Wall (33), D Canney for Brady (35), D Silke for Sice (41), G Burke for L Silke (49), B O'Donovan for Mike Farragher (53), C McGrath for McHugh (55)

Clann na nGael: R O'Reilly; D Pettit, S Flynn, R Gavin; D Connaughton, G Pettit, S Pettit; U Harney, C Shine; C McManus, D Shine, E Kenny; D McManus, C Lennon, J Fahy Subs: M Scally for D McManus (24), C Callinan for Shine (BC 28), J Dunning for Fahy, D Sumner for C McManus (both HT), D Duff for Gavin (36), N Connaughton for Kenny (49)

Ref - J Henry (Mayo)

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