Corofin 2-13 Gaoth Dobhair 1-12

Gary Sice was the hero for Corofin who will now defend their All-Ireland club football title on St Patrick’s Day after a 2-13 to 1-12 win against Gaoth Dobhair.

Corofin were much more clinical in front of goal in the first half, with Gary Sice and Martin Farragher raising green flags either side of Kevin Cassidy’s strike and they took a 2-07 to 1-05 lead into half-time at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon.

Micheal Lundy picked up a black card on the resumption but Corofin were too strong late on and Sice finished up with 1-07.

Gaoth Daobhair’s vocal support cheered on Dáire Ó Baoill’s brilliant point in the third minute. It was a great strike off his right to calm the nerves of the first-time Ulster champions.

But Corofin had all of the experience having won their sixth Galway title in a row this season, and they soon hit back with Sice’s free.

It was a tap over for Sice and the majority of Corofin’s scores in the first half were too easy, while they crowded out their own defence and thwarted Gaoth Dobhair.

When Sice scored his second free in the 14th minute the signs were ominous and Corofin held a double-scores, 0-04 to 0-02 advantage. Goath Dobhair needed to stay close but the Connacht club drove forward and got the next score, a goal from Sice.

Ronan Steede’s long ball found Sice who passed to wing-back Kieran Molloy. The low shot was saved by Christopher Sweeney but Sice followed up for a crucial goal.

It looked as though Corofin would pile the pressure on as they had done throughout Galway and Connacht this year, but Gaoth Dobhair hit back.

Naoise Ó Baoill put the advancing Christopher McFadden through, he saw his shot stopped by Bernard Power before Cassidy pounced to scored the rebound.

Gaoth Dobhair only trailed by 1-04 to 1-02 the teams traded scores with Jason Leonard and Ian Burke scoring for Corofin while Odhrán Mac Niallais and Niall Friel cancelled those efforts out.

Cian Mulligan’s second point put the minimum between the sides but Corofin weren’t flustered. And Martin Farragher’s goal was another hammer blow.

Sice was provider again, Ian Burke claimed his pass and gave the ball to Farragher who finished over Sweeney and into the net.

Sice added a free and Corofin took a 2-07 to 1-05 lead into the break.

Gaoth Dobhair were right in contention at the start of the second half and they scored two of the first three points through MacNiallais and Collum.

Lundy was shown his black card in the 36th minute when he dragged down Odhrán McFadden-Ferry, but Corofin responded better and Sice scored another free.

Gaoth Dobhair were back within a goal after points from Cassidy and Collum. Cassidy was a big presence on the edge of the rectangle and he brought his tally to 1-2 in the 53rd minute.

But Corofin substitute Gavin Burke pushed his side further in front, and further points from Leonard and Sice put the result beyond doubt.

Corofin: Bernard Power; Cathal Silke, Kieran Fitzgerald, Liam Silke (0-01); Dylan Wall, Dylan McHugh, Kieran Molloy; Daithí Burke (0-01), Ronan Steede; Jason Leonard (0-02, 0-01f), Micheal Lundy, Mike Farragher; Gary Sice (1-07, 0-07f), Martin Farragher (1-00), Ian Burke (0-01).

Subs used: Gavin Burke (0-01) for Wall (36 mins), Colin Brady for Lundy (37, black card), Conor Cunningham for McHugh (55), Ciaran McGrath for Martin Farragher (58), Dylan Canney for Sice (61).

Gaoth Dobhair: Christopher Sweeney; Gary McFadden, Neil McGee, Christopher McFadden; Niall Friel (0-01), Odhrán McFadden-Ferry, Dáire Ó Baoill (0-01); Eamon McGee, Odhrán Mac Niallais (0-02, 0-01f); Dan McBride, Michael Carroll, Naoise Ó Baoill; Cian Mulligan (0-02), Kevin Cassidy (1-02), Eamonn Collum (0-02, 0-01f)

Subs used: James Carroll (0-02) for N Ó Baoill (56 mins), James Boyle for C McFadden (58).

Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)