Corofin 0-07 0-07 Mountbellew/Moylough

Corofin needed a 64th minute Micheál Lundy point to force a replay in the Galway SFC final after Mountbellew/Moylough huge effort almost dethroned the All-Ireland champions at Pearse Stadium.

Barry McHugh had kicked a free for Mountbellew/Moylough three minutes earlier to give his side the lead, but there was to be no first title sine 1986 for them after Lundy’s late score.

Facing the side with the best attacking and defensive record in the competition this season, the five-in-a-row champions and the reigning All-Ireland club champions, it was hard to blame Mountbellew/Moylough for setting up with a tight defence as their chief tactic.

Every time Corofin got possession every Mountbellew/Moylough player flooded back to their own 45 metre line and the 19-times winners were faced with three solid banks of defenders. Corofin also elected to crowd their defence, but one or two forwards were always employed in the Mountbellew/Moylough half.

Michèal Lundy in action for Corofin in 2016

After 30 minutes Corofin only had one point on the board – a 12th minute Kieran Molloy punched effort – while Mountbellew/Moylough showed good efficiency to avoid kicking a wide in the opening half.

But just before the break, Martin Farragher kicked a great point from the right corner for Corofin and straight from the kick-out they penalised Mountbellew/Moylough once more when Gary Sice landed his first score.

This game could have been a much different affair had Michael Farragher hit the net after ten seconds. A long ball was drilled in straight from the throw in and he sought out the bottom corner with a curled effort but it crept inches wide.

A foul on Michael Daly by his man marker Dylan Wall allowed Barry McHugh to give Mountbellew/Moylough the lead after six minutes, and after Molloy levelled, Eoin Finnerty kicked a great lead score from the right for the underdogs.

Corofin needed a goal-line clearance from captain Micheál Lundy to deny John Daly in the 29th minute, but McHugh easily converted the 45 that followed, only for Corofin’s late double to level matters at the break, 0-3 each.

With Mountbellew/Moylough holding on to possession around halfway Corofin began to get impatient and after Lundy was yellow carded for a tackle on John Daly, Martin Farragher was black carded for his involvement in the same incident.

A point from Sice was Corofin’s response to the clash and a minute later Damien Boyle tipped Liam Silke’s shot over the bar as Corofin moved two points clear.

Mountbellew/Moylough were far from beaten though and Paul Donnellan clipped over a close range score for them after 43 minutes, but the Corofin lead was soon back to two when Sice’s well worked free resulted in his third point of the day.

With daylight fading due to extra-time in the intermediate final that preceded the senior decider, McHugh put one point between the sides with a great score from distance, and with one minute remaining Michael Daly picked up substitute Colin Ryan for the equaliser.

A draw looked likely, but referee James Molloy spotted an off the ball foul by Conor Cunningham and McHugh put Mountbellew/Moylough a point ahead. With three minutes of added time announced Corofin turned down a 47-metre free and showed great composure to work the ball into the scoring zone and Lundy punched the leveller to force the replay.

Corofin: Bernard Power; Cathal Silke, Kieran Fitzgerald, Liam Silke (0-01); Kieran Molloy (0-01), Dylan McHugh, Dylan Wall; Daithi Burke, Ronan Steede; Gary Sice (0-03), Micheál Lundy (0-01), Jason Leonard; Martin Farragher (0-01), Michael Farragher, Ian Burke.

Subs: Colin Brady for Martin Frragher (36 BC), Conor Cunningham for Wall (54), Dylan Canney for Burke (59).

Mountbellew-Moylough: Damien Boyle; Gary Sweeney, Mark Mannion, Colin Murray; Noel McDonagh, Ger Donoghue, John Daly; Michael Daly, Matthew Barrett; Stephen Boyle, Paul Donnellan (0-01), Eoin Finnerty (0-01); Colm Mannion, Barry McHugh (0-04, 0-02f, 0-01’45), Leo Donnellan.

Subs: Colin Ryan (0-01) for C Mannion (54), David Hogan for McDonagh (57), Billy Mannion for S Boyle (61).

Referee: James Molloy (Galway).