Clann na nGael 0-07 Corofin 4-22
Any doubts about Corofin’s credentials being possibly on the slide were well and truly banished as they handed out a 27-point drubbing to Roscommon champions Clann na nGael at Dr. Hyde Park.
The meeting between the two most successful club sides in Connacht turned out to be ridiculously one-sided as the reigning All-Ireland champions turned in their most polished performance since last March’s national success against Nemo Rangers.
First-half goals from Colin Brady and Michael Lundy set the tone, and Corofin continued to run riot after the break, adding a further brace of green flags from Man of the Match Jason Leonard who ended up with a personal tally of 2-06.
Clann na nGael were outplayed all over the field but their cause wasn’t helped by the loss of their talisman Donie Shine to a black card in the 30th minute, followed quickly by a red card for midfielder Ultan Harney after an incident with Dylan Wall.
Playing against the wind, Corofin went for jugular early, and a point from Ronan Steede was followed immediately by a goal from full-forward Colin Brady who replaced Ian Burke in the Galway champions’ starting 15.
A brace of Shine frees kept Clann na nGael in the game early on but Corofin, aided by the energy provided by Dylan Wall and Kieran Molloy from their wing-back berths, soon put significant daylight between the sides.
Four points in succession from Leonard were followed by further scores from Brady, Michael Lundy and Wall (2). Then, in the 29th minute, Mike Farragher’s effort for a point was held up in the wind. Molloy chased what seemed like a lost cause gathered and squared the ball unselfishly for Lundy to net his side’s second goal.
Things for worse for Clann when they lost Shine and Harney, although Cathal Shine did manage a score to leave his side trailing by 2-10 to 0-03 at the break.
The one-way traffic continued in the second half as Corofin toyed with a Clann side bereft of any confidence. Barely a minute had elapsed when Leonard emphatically crashed the ball to the net to banish any hopes of a Clann revival.
Corofin corner-back Liam Silke ambled forward for a score as the Galway side’s angles of running and support play continued to leave Clann na nGael chasing shadows.
The scores kept coming as substitutes Dylan Canney and Darragh Silke grabbed a couple of points apiece.
Leonard finished off a flowing team move for Corofin’s fourth goal in the 46th minute and it took a good save from Clann na nGael Ronan O’Reilly to prevent his side from conceding a fifth.
Late Clann points from Cathal Callinan, Ciaran Lennon (a free) and Johnny Dunning couldn’t conceal the gulf between the sides as Corofin set up a Connacht final meeting against Ballintubber in Castlebar in two weeks’ time.
Corofin: Bernard Power; Cathal Silke, Kieran Fitzgerald, Liam Silke (0-01); Kieran Molloy, Dylan McHugh, Dylan Wall (0-02); Ciarán Brady, Ronan Steede (0-01); Michael Lundy (1-03), Jason Leonard (2-06, 0-03f, 0-01’ 45), Mike Farragher (0-01); Martin Farragher (0-01), Colin Brady (1-01), Gary Sice (0-02, 0-01f).
Subs used: Conor Cunningham for Wall (33), Dylan Canney (0-02) for Brady (35), Darragh Silke (0-02) for Sice (42), Gavin Burke for Cathal Silke (49), Barry O’Donovan for Farragher (53), Ciarán McGrath for McHugh (55).
Clann na nGael: Ronan O’Reilly; Ronan Gavin, Darra Pettit, Shane Pettit; Graham Pettit, Stephen Flynn, David Connaughton; Ultan Harney, Cathal Shine (0-01); Cian McManus, Donal Shine (0-02, 0-02f), Emmet Kenny (0-01); David McManus, Ciarán Lennon (0-01, 0-01f), Jamie Fahy.
Subs used: Matt Scally for David McManus (25), Cathal Callinan (0-01) for Shine (30, black card), Dylan Sumner for Fahy (half-time), Johnny Dunning (0-01) for Cian McManus (half-time), Damien Duff for Gavin (36), Niall Connaughton for Kenny (49).
Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo).