Corofin hope to thrive on return to provincial stage


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Corofin hope to thrive on return to provincial stage Corofin hope to thrive on return to provincial stage

Corofin begin their quest for an 11th Connacht senior club Gaelic football title this Saturday when they take on Mayo’s Ballina Stephenites in the provincial semi-final in Pearse Stadium (2pm).

After a four-year wait, the north Galway powerhouse are back in front of the TV cameras in the competition they won five times in the last decade.

Kevin Johnson’s men defied many predictions to go through 2023 unbeaten so far following their league success over Tuam Stars. Eight championship games produced eight victories and a 22nd Frank Fox Cup.

While four years isn’t long for many, it would be considered a famine in Corofin. But Saturday’s opponents have experienced their own starvation as they ended a wait going back to 2007 to win Mayo’s Paddy Moclair Cup two weeks ago.

Ballina are 37-time Mayo champions; they’ve won Connacht on three occasions including beating then All-Ireland champions Corofin in November 1998; and were All-Ireland champions themselves back in 2005, overcoming Portlaoise in Croke Park.

Niall Heffernan’s troops also have a 100% record and have shown an ability to come through tight contests. They began against Breaffy (0-12 to 0-11) back in August before further group victories over Mayo Gaels and Balla.

In their last four matches, they’ve conceded a total of just 20 points! They beat Belmullet (1-11 to 0-4) in the quarter-final before accounting for Knockmore (0-10 to 0-7) at the next stage.

Their 0-6 to 0-4 county final win over Breaffy, the lowest scoring Mayo final since 1935, was heavily criticised but they demonstrated their attacking credentials in last week’s Connacht quarter-final against Fulham Irish with a 3-11 to 0-5 win.

Niall Feeney, Mikey Murray, and Conor McStay got the goals, but Ballina were without the injured Dylan Thornton and Mayo defender Padraig O’Hora. They were also minus top scorer Evan Regan for personal reasons, but he is back for the joust with the Galway champions.

Pictured: The Corofin squad observe a minute’s silence before the start of the county final a fortnight ago against Maigh Cuilinn. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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