FOR the second game running, Corofin put their loyal supporters through the excruciating agony of watching their team slowly but surely lose a commanding lead only to come good in extra time, as Kevin O’Brien’s men exorcised the ghosts of two previous losses to Castlebar Mitchels in Tuam Stadium.
The Mayo champions, whose captain Cian Costello listed the north Galway venue as his favourite ground in the match programme, literally bounced off the pitch when the full time whistle was blown, such was their dominance of the closing minutes, but Corofin somehow regrouped despite losing key players to injury, and once again made a match-winning scoring burst early in extra time, kicking three vital points into the teeth of a wintry wind.
Gary Sice led the way, kicking the first of these scores after Ronan Steede’s pass had fortuitously fallen into his path, and he admitted that, much like in their semi-final win over St. Brigid’s, Corofin were fortunate to even have had the chance to reset and make up for what had been a very sloppy final quarter.
“We were a little bit deflated at full time but we were here before two weeks ago,” Sice stated. “We’d been here before against Castlebar, because last year down there it went to extra time as well. We got out of jail this time in normal time definitely.
“They were really pushing us but I thought we were fantastic in extra time. Our lads that came on, Kevin Murphy was exemplary, Barry O’Donovan and Ciaran Brady were fantastic when they came in and that’s what you need at this level. It’s fantastic to see lads coming through and we have only got better since the year has gone on.
“We lost leaders today at various stages (Kieran Fitzgerald and Ciaran McGrath), then you see someone like Conor Cunningham leading from the back, a 23-year-old. Liam Silke was fantastic all day long and Cathal Silke came in and led there as well. That’s the goal – to leave something behind for these guys to take over and they are doing it.”
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.