By Alan Dooley
Corofin 0-11 0-08 Tuam Stars
Corofin's dominance of the Galway SFC continues as Kevin O’Brien’s side claimed their seventh successive title with an assured second half performance that proved too much for Tuam Stars in Tuam Stadium.
Trailing by one on a damp afternoon with a little under 20 minutes to play, Corofin’s experience and class told thereafter as they reeled off five unanswered points to wrestle control of the replay from a resolute Tuam side.
They will have just a week now to prepare for a Connacht semi-final against Mayo champions Ballintubber at the same venue, as a shot at claiming a three-in-a-row of All-Ireland crowns awaits them.
O’Brien will have much to ponder in the run up to that game as his side played in fits and starts and were far from their usual economical selves in front of goals. When it really mattered, though, they came up with the important scores as Tuam Stars’ challenge faded.
Corofin stalwart Kieran Fitzgerald now has amassed an astonishing haul of 14 winners’ medals and his inclusion in the last line of defence helped to restrict Tuam in an area where they had got plenty of joy in the drawn game.
Daithí Burke and Micheál Lundy were the other two changes from the drawn game for Corofin, as Tuam Stars began with the same 15 who had come so close to ending a 25-year wait for glory only for Gary Sice to rescue Corofin.
Sice was again an influential figure for Corofin, who took an early two-point lead, but Tuam Stars roared back after a nervy start to take the lead by the tenth minute, thanks to points from Jamie Murphy, Gary O’Donnell, and Dara Ó Ruairc.
Persistent heavy rain made playing conditions tricky and handling errors by both sides were commonplace, but Tuam Stars were delighted to head in at half time with a 0-5 to 0-4 lead.
The shock result was still on the cards when Ben O’Connell made it 0-7 0-6, but from there key Corofin men such as Ronan Steede, Michael Farragher, and Kieran Molloy took control.
Sice kicked two frees to edge them in front, and when Steede landed a long range effort on 52 minutes, Corofin began to look more assured.
Martin Farragher’s point left a goal in it with five minutes to play, but there would be no late drama on this occasion as Molloy kicked the insurance score in time added on
Corofin: B Power;R Mahon, K Fitzgerald, D Wall; D Burke, L Silke, D McHugh; K Molloy (0-01), R Steede (0-01); G Sice (0-03, 2f), Michael Farragher (0-01), J Leonard (0-03, 0-01f); M Lundy, Martin Farragher (0-02), I Burke.
Subs: Colin Brady for McHugh (40), D Silke for Lundy (42), G Burke for Mahon (54), C Cunningham for D Burke (62), D Canney for Martin Farragher (64)
Tuam Stars:JTrayers; B O’Donnell, A Tierney, R O’Connor; G O’Donnell (0-01), D Ó Ruairc (0-01), B Mashengele; C Rhatigan, P Collins; N. Henry, J Murphy (0-03, 2f), S Kelly; B Mannion (0-02, 1f), M Mannion, B O’Connell (0-01).
Subs: G Connell for M Mannion (46), C McWalter for Henry (54), A O’Connell for Mashengele (60)
Referee: N Dempsey.