Leonard on song as Corofin rule in Galway once again
Corofin 0-16 S'hill-Knock 0-11
They have a bit to go to match the seven-in-a-row of Tuam Stars and Ballinasloe, but who could argue that Corofin are in good shape to achieve that goal after Jason Leonard earned their fourth Galway title on the bounce.
Yes, Salthill-Knocknacarra only lost by five points and cut Corofin's lead to three points with 13 minutes to go, but Val Daly's young side have a long way to go yet to threaten the champions.
This win was achieved without the service of Gary Sice due to a hamstring injury, but with Leonard, Ian Burke, Micheal Lundy and Michael Farragher in form the gold and green were easy winners.
Corofin now go on to face the Mayo or Sligo champions, but whoever they face in Connacht will come up against a team on top of their game.
Kevin O'Brien has taken over the reins from current Mayo boss Stephen Rochford, but it was like looking at his All-Ireland team at stages of the opening quarter as they tore Salthill-Knocknacarra to shreds, made room to score up front and took every chance that came their way.
"That's a super win, great to win a county title. It's four-in-a -row, it's the first time we have talked about it. I am absolutely thrilled for the guys they are a great group of players," said O'Brien.
"We've a lot of young guys coming in there, a lot of the experienced guys as well and they all put the shoulder to the wheel today and delighted with the success. Fair play to Salthill they gave us a really hard game and we kept saying that all of the time.
"It's great to have this milestone, great to have this behind us now and the whole four in a row thing. We look forward to that, we haven't thought about it but it's a great opportunity for us, once we have the county final behind us. I am really delighted for the boys."
At the heart of all that dominance early on was Lundy, who was making his first start of the season for his club following a stint in America. He got them up and running in the early seconds, and when Burke and Micheal Farragher similarly followed suit the plan for the day was clear.
Sean Armstrong was very impressive for Salthill-Knocknacarra though and his four first-half points kept his side in touch, while his super 40th minute effort showed he still has the ability to play at the highest level.
Alongside him county minor Robert Finnerty chipped in with four scores and the duo hauled Corofin's lead back to three points with 13 minutes remaining, but another three Leonard scores ensured the Frank Fox Cup headed north along the N17 once again.
Late on Salthill-Knocknacarra sub Peter Killeen was sent off for a second yellow card in the space of the four minutes he spent on the pitch, but this was a canter for Corofin, who could have a goal late on through Ian Burke, but Evan Duffy denied him with a great save.
Scorers - Corofin: J Leonard 0-9 (4f), M Lundy, M Farragher, I Burke 0-2 each, K Molloy 0-1.
Salthill-Knocknacarra: S Armstrong 0-6 (2f), R Finnerty 0-4 (3f), T Haran 0-1 (1f).
Corofin - B Power; C Cunningham, L Silke, C Silke; K Figerald, C McGrath, K Molloy; D Burke, R Steede; B O'Donovan, D Wall, J Leonard; M Lundy, M Farragher, I Burke.
Subs - A Burke for O'Donovan (32-39 & 44), C Brady for Wall (56), K Murphy for Leonard (61), D Canney for Lundy (64), C Brady for Fitzgerald (65).
Salthill-Knocknacarra - E Duffy; E Wynne, F Hanley, C Halloran; R McTiernan, W Finnerty, G Duffy; C Healy, B Kelly; J Maher, R Butler, T Haran; R Finnerty, M MacDonnacha, S Armstrong.
Subs - B Conlon for Armstrong (32-37), G Cox for Butler (42), J Killeen for W Finnerty (52), P Killeen for Maher (58), S Kelly for MacDonncha (60).
Ref - T Ó Fátharta (Galway).
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