Monday 23 September 2019

Wall goal proves key for Corofin as they claim sixth Galway title in a row

Corofin1-8 M'bellew/Moylough 0-5

Dylan Wall got Corofin off to a flying start with a third-minute goal. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Dylan Wall got Corofin off to a flying start with a third-minute goal. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

After Corofin finally overcame the challenge of Mountbellew/Moylough to seal their 20th title, one Pearse Stadium regular was heard asking if this was the worst Galway final ever. But no matter the entertainment value, the end result was the same: Corofin figured out a way to win.

Mountbellew/Moylough will be soundly lambasted for their defensive set-up in both the drawn and replayed finals, but what were they supposed to do?

Micheál Lundy of Corofin in action against, from left, Michael Daly, Barry McHugh, Gary Sweeney and John Daly of Mountbellew-Moylough. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Micheál Lundy of Corofin in action against, from left, Michael Daly, Barry McHugh, Gary Sweeney and John Daly of Mountbellew-Moylough. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Against the All-Ireland champions who remain unbeaten in Galway since October 2012, the side who have now lost three of the last four finals had to try and smother Corofin.

The tactic worked last weekend, but once Corofin pulled ahead yesterday Mountbellew/Moylough could not change tack.

Dylan Wall's third-minute goal gave Corofin the lead that they needed, while Gary Sice kept their tally ticking over.

One point in the second period would never suffice for Mountbellew/Moylough and the champions easily closed out the victory.

Liam Silke of Corofin in action against Noel McDonagh of Mountbellew-Moylough. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Liam Silke of Corofin in action against Noel McDonagh of Mountbellew-Moylough. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

"It was all about the win," said Corofin manager Kevin O'Brien.

"The way that Mountbellew/Moylough set up, it's hard to get scores. Scores were hard come by and they caught us on the break a few times.

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"Our lads are so used to playing going forward as quick as they possibly can. It was quite the change in attitude in the last two games.

"I think we adapted very well and I think we got some good scores in the second half. Once we went ahead it was an easier game to control."

Micheál Lundy of Corofin in action against Gary Sweeney of Mountbellew-Moylough. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Micheál Lundy of Corofin in action against Gary Sweeney of Mountbellew-Moylough. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Unlike last week Corofin claimed the lead early on and never lost it again, but despite Wall's goal, Corofin had to show huge patience to wait for their chances.

Ronan Steede was often the fulcrum of the attack as Corofin moved from one wing to the other in search of a gap, while the roaming runs of Liam Silke and Wall sprung the gaps they needed.

The loss of Ian Burke to a rib injury beforehand was a blow for Corofin and Mountbellew/Moylough were already a point ahead before the goal when Michael Daly curled over a brilliant point from the right.

But once Wall ran on to Liam Silke's pass and hit the net, it was always going to be tricky for the underdogs. Daly's second score closed that gap to one point by the sixth minute but that was as close as they got.

Leo Donnellan of Mountbellew-Moylough in action against Micheál Lundy of Corofin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Leo Donnellan of Mountbellew-Moylough in action against Micheál Lundy of Corofin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Corofin kicked four points in a row to lead by 1-4 to 0-3 at half-time, and Mountbellew/Moylough's next score in the contest didn't materialise for another 36 minutes when Eoin Finnerty scored with the last kick of the game.

Just before that final score the game had descended into a niggly farce, with both sides involved in petty fouling while off-the-ball antics were rife. Both Barry McHugh and Kieran Fitzgerald were yellow-carded twice during their ongoing duel and sent off in added-time, while Mountbellew/Moylough's Noel McDonagh was shown a straight red following a clash with Micheál Lundy and Daly earned a yellow and black at the death.

On the occasion of his record 13th Galway senior winner's medal, Fitzgerald saw red for the first time in his career and his manager O'Brien praised his influence on the team.

"Listen, he's an absolute gentleman, it's a credit to be in the same dressing room as him," he said.

"He's a role model and probably the fittest player we have at 38 years of age.

"He is probably still one of the best full-backs in Galway, particularly in club football.

"He's outstanding, he's first to training every night and is a role model to everyone inside the club and inside it as well."

After wrapping up this replayed win, Corofin now face Roscommon winners Clann na nGael in next Sunday's Connacht Club SFC semi-final.

SCORERS - Corofin: G Sice 0-4 (3fs), D Wall 1-0, L Silke, Colin Brady, R Steede, Michael Farragher 0-1 each. Mountbellew-Moylough: M Daly 0-2, E Finnerty 0-2, B McHugh 0-1 (1f).

COROFIN - B Power; C Silke, K Fitzgerald, L Silke; K Molloy, D McHugh, D Wall; D Burke, R Steede; J Leonard, M Lundy, Colin Brady; G Sice, Michael Farragher, Martin Farragher. Subs: C Cunningham for C Silke (49), D Canney for Martin Farragher (57), Ciaran Brady for D Burke (60+4), D Silke for Leonard (60+4), B O'Donovan for Molloy (60+5).

MOUNTBELLEW-MOYLOUGH - D Boyle; M Mannion, J Daly, N McDonagh; C Murray, G Sweeney, G Donahue; M Daly, M Barrett; S Boyle, P Donnellan, A Barrett; C Mannion, B McHugh, E Finnerty. Subs: L Donnellan for A Barrett (h-t), C Ryan for Mannion (47), A Barrett for Boyle (54), B Mannion for L Donnellan (60+4).

REF - T ó Fatharta (Galway)

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