Corofin facing serious test to complete the ‘drive for five’

Corofin's Ian Burke and Mountbellew-Moylough's Aaron McHugh in action during last year's senior football semi-final. The clubs renew rivalry in Sunday's County Final at Tuam Stadium.

THERE’S little doubt about one aspect of this year’s Galway senior football championship – the two best teams in the county have made it through to Sunday’s final at Tuam Stadium (4pm).

Corofin, are by a country mile the most successful team in Galway football since their landmark county final victory over Salthill back in 1991, but Mountbellew-Moylough are a hungry young outfit, hell-bent on breaking new ground this weekend.

And while Corofin will again carry the favourites tag with them into this final (2/5 versus 5/2 – the draw is 8/1), most observers of this year’s football championship will rate this contest far tighter than these odds would suggest.

Another bit of spice thrown into this county final equation is that Mountbellew-Moylough manager, Michael Donnellan, is a former Corofin stalwart with a satchel of county medals on his mantlepiece as he tries to plot the downfall of his home club.

Donnellan took over as manager of Mountbellew this season and while the early part of the championship was something of a slow burner for them, his side has jelled into quite a potent force over the past couple of months.

A humble enough 0-11 to 0-7 first round victory over An Cheathrú Rua last May was then followed by a 0-14 to 0-10 defeat at the hands of Annaghdown, with, at that point, little to indicate any impending improvement in fortunes.

Mountbellew-Moylough and Donnellan though stuck with their system cum work ethic and after the mid-summer break they fairly demolished the challenges of Milltown (2-17 to 0-11); St. James’ (3-20 to 0-10) and last year’s intermediate champions, Monivea-Abbey in the semi-final (3-15 to 1-4).

An infusion of young blood – close on half their team are under-21 – has integrated well with the older heads, most notably, Joe Bergin, who was the outstanding midfielder on view in the two county semi-finals at Tuam Stadium.

Corofin’s recent form has been of more modest virtue. While they did have 11 points to spare over Moycullen in the quarter-final, they conceded 2-8 in that game, and for long periods of the semi-final victory over Annaghdown, they were on the back foot.

Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune