Corofin's dreams of becoming the first team to win three consecutive All-Ireland Club SFC titles remains alive after they saw off Nemo Rangers at Cusack Park in Ennis on Saturday afternoon.
The All-Ireland champions of 2018 – when they beat Nemo in the final – and 2019 had a dream start as Micheál Lundy scored a goal inside 33 seconds and they had 1-04 on the board before Nemo opened their account in the 24th minute.
A 1-05 to 0-02 half-time advantage was comfortable for the Galway side and their advantage wouldn’t drop below five points in the second half, even allowing for some uncharacteristically sloppy shooting.
There was an official attendance of 4,150 at Ennis but many were still queuing to get in when Corofin got their dream start.
Gary Sice’s lovely ball created space for Martin Farragher and when he found Lundy, the attacker did well to take his time and pick his spot to give them a lead that would never be relinquished.
Nemo were rattled and it told in their play in the early stages, with good Corofin defending ensuring that no scoreable opportunities were coughed up, while they then counter-attacked with purpose.
Jason Leonard, Ronan Steede, Martin Farragher and Sice were all on target as they pulled clear, though goalkeeper Bernard Power did have to save from Barry O’Driscoll on 22 minutes after Mark Cronin’s pass gave him a sight of goal.
The Cork champions were finally off the mark through Alan O’Donovan and Conor Horgan doubled their tally following a good Kevin O’Donovan turnover but the impressive Kieran Molloy ended the half with a Corofin point, set up by Mike Farragher.
Early in the second half, Corofin could have put themselves out of sight as they cut through Nemo with an incisive move involving Lundy, Mike Farragher and Molloy but Lundy was unable to repeat his first-half feat and shot wide,
Soon after that, Martin Farragher’s attempt at a fisted point actually saw the ball end up in the net and good point-scoring opportunities were wasted too before Lundy pointed on 36 after a quick Steede 45.
Nemo did respond well to that, shooting three of the next four points through Luke Connolly (two) and Kevin O’Donovan, with Corofin only having a Martin Farragher point in response. Even so, a Nemo goal always looked likely if they were to effect a turnaround and their efforts to conjure one were well repelled.
Mike Farragher put Corofin six points ahead again, profiting from good work by his brother Martin, and Ian Burke added two more points, sandwiching one by Nemo’s Barry O’Driscoll.
They made it 1-10 to 0-6, Nemo pulling one back through sub Ciarán Dalton.
Nemo did have a couple of late half-chances for goals, but James McDermott’s fisted effort and Kevin O’Donovan’s low shot were both kept out by Power.
Corofin march on, with history in their sights, but knowing that there is room for improvement.
Corofin: Bernard Power; Kieran Fitzgerald, Cathal Silke, Liam Silke; Kieran Molloy (0-01), Colin Brady, Conor Cunningham; Daithí Burke, Ronan Steede (0-01); Mike Farragher (0-01), Gary Sice (0-01f), Jason Leonard (0-01 45); Micheál Lundy (1-01), Martin Farragher (0-02), Ian Burke (0-02).
Subs: Dylan Wall for Lundy (50), Dylan McHugh for Cunningham (57), Gavin Burke for Brady, Darragh Silke for Sice, Ciarán McGrath for Silke, Dylan Canney for Martin Farragher (all 60).
Nemo Rangers: Micheál Martin; Kieran Histon, Aidan O’Reilly, Alan Cronin; Jack Horgan, Stephen Cronin, Kevin O’Donovan (0-01); Alan O’Donovan (0-01), James McDermott; Barry O’Driscoll (0-01), Paul Kerrigan, Colin O’Brien; Luke Connolly (0-02, 0-01f), Conor Horgan (0-01), Mark Cronin.
Subs: Kevin Fulignati for O’Brien (41), Ciarán Dalton (0-01) for Conor Horgan (50), Ronan Dalton for Mark Cronin (53).
Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry).