Inside Track with John McIntyre
GALWAY’S club football’s biggest game of the year at Pearse Stadium last Sunday proved a major letdown . . . despite champions Corofin being forced to scramble for their lives in earning a replay against a Mountbellew/Moylough outfit which came within seconds of pulling off a sensational victory.
The challengers, fielding a host of young players and missing some seasoned operators for a variety of reasons, were generally perceived as no hopers ahead of the Galway showdown, but the homework was done and their defensive set up and razor-sharp tackling continuously frustrated the All-Ireland club title holders who were well below their best.
Though Mountbellew/Moylough’s blanket defence was not appealing on the eye and contributed to a forgettable low-scoring final which only produced a paltry 14 points – a total you’d associate more with a day marred by howling winds and pouring rain – the end justified the means as Michael Donnellan’s charges almost shattered Corofin’s invincible status.
True, Mountbellew/Moylough could be accused of putting the barn-door in front of their posts, but while their tactics may have been originally borne out of an exercise in damage limitation, having so many players behind the ball almost delivered the biggest shock in the county championship in years. Corofin may have known what was coming down the tracks, but were unable to work their way around (or through) the big numbers ahead of them.
We must also remember that nothing lasts forever and Kevin O’Brien’s squad have been protecting a long unbeaten run in the Galway title race since 2012. Chasing the six-in-a-row, their own hunger levels have to be diluted by winning so much, while the general anticipation that they were about to sweep aside Mountbellew/Moylough may have led unwittingly to some complacency in their ranks.
Having comfortably overcome Annaghdown, who were perceived as their main threat, in the semi-final while, at the same time, Mountbellew/Moylough were making heavy work of the challenges of Moycullen and Salthill/Knocknacarra respectively, Corofin wouldn’t be human if they let their guard drop – even only slightly.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.