THEY may have mixed some sublime attacking with extended periods of sluggishness on Sunday, but the juggernaut that is Corofin’s senior football team rolls on, as Daithí Burke’s extra time piledriver moves the club back to the stage where they feel they belong; a fourth successive provincial final, two wins away from a shot at another All-Ireland club crown.
“We were pushed to the edge of our collar out there today,” manager Kevin O’Brien admitted afterwards. “We’re absolutely delighted to get through. St. Brigid’s asked a lot of questions of us, but credit to our lads. Every time the questions were asked they came back and delivered.”
A much coveted third title would move Corofin alongside St. Finbarr’s of Cork and St. Vincent’s of Dublin on the national roll of honour, but the Malahide based club can testify to how difficult the road ahead will be for O’Brien’s squad, having slumped to a shock defeat to Wicklow’s Rathnew last weekend.
Corofin were desperately close to following Diarmuid Connolly’s brigade out the exit door. St. Brigid’s came with a late charge but Cathal McHugh, after netting their uplifting goal on 47 minutes, failed to reduce the deficit to one with two straightforward, yet highly pressurised frees with sufficient time on the clock for St. Brigid’s to kick on and claim a victory.
It was perhaps not quite akin to a response to an SOS signal, but when Daithí Burke came on with ten minutes of normal time to play, there was a growing feeling that Corofin were hanging on by their fingernails. St. Brigid’s running game was exposing faults in a tiring defensive structure and their midfield was getting wiped out under their own kickouts.
No one expects a team to dominate a game for the full sixty minutes in a Connacht semi-final, but Corofin alarmingly went from a twenty minute spell where the quality of their football was simply breath-taking, to having only two Mike Farragher points to show for the final twenty minutes of action, while playing with the breeze at their backs.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.