FOLLOWING a terrific run this year of 16 victories this year in the league and championship, Corofin were held to a draw by Annaghdown in last Sunday’s county senior league final in Headford.
It was a cracking winter’s afternoon, with calm conditions in benign sunshine and both sides served up some wonderful fare. Corofin had to convert a late ‘45’ to bring the game to extra-time and, in turn, Annagdown, three points behind at the end of the second period of extra-time, had to find the net with their last kick to earn a replay.
Corofin started with 12 of the team that had gained victory in the Connacht club final while Annaghdown were also without some key players because of fitness difficulties. Corofin dominated the early possession and Annaghdown had to employ a blanket defence to keep the scoring to a minimum.
Ian and Daithi Burke both pointed from play in the first ten minutes, while Annaghdown had to wait until the 14th minute for their first score, a pointed free from Frankie Burke. Corofin were patient in their build up and were rewarded with two Gary Sice points and an effort from Alan O’Donovan to lead by 0-5 to 0-1.
Both sides were guilty of some wayward shooting in that first half with Corofin hitting eight wides to Annaghdown’s five. Then just before the half-time whistle Frankie Burke converted his second free of the half to leave it Corofin 0-5, Annagdown 0-2 at the break.
Brendan Dooley boosted Annaghdown when he got their first point from play in the 34th minute. However, Corofin soon restored their dominance and converted three points without reply. Gary Sice was again their main scorer getting two of them, one from a free, while Ian Burke also pointed to stretch their lead to 0-8 to 0-3 after 48 minutes.
Annaghdown played Damien Comer at midfield as they were without Niall Coleman, but as the game seemed to be going away from them they moved Comer into the full-forward line. This proved to be a master stroke as the Corofin defence struggled to deal with his power.
Then in the 49th minute the Corofin defence failed to clear a cross from the right and Comer gained possession, swivelled and blasted the ball diagonally past David Morris. The next attack resulted in a ‘45’ for Annaghdown and following some fouling on the 30 metre line as Comer was set to take the kick, referee James Molloy awarded a free for Annaghdown closer to goal which Frankie Burke converted. There was now only one point between the sides.
Corofin introduced Shane Monaghan for Joe Canney and Martin Farragher for Alan O’Donovan and Farragher pointed with his first touch of the ball. However, Annaghdown’s were not lying down and they were rewarded a penalty after Comer was fouled in the square as he tried to field a high ball.
Corofin goalie David Morris made a great save from Frankie Burke’s penalty kick but the rebound fell into Burke’s advancing path and he made no mistake with his second touch. Annaghdown were now one point ahead, 2-4 to 0-9 and three minutes remaining.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.