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Inside Track

Corofin remain in league of their own after final rout

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Corofin captain Michael Farragher and his team-mates celebrate with the Shane McGettigan Cup after their Connacht Club senior football final win over Ballintubber last Sunday. Photo: Enda Noone.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

ALL the cautionary words directed towards Corofin footballers ahead of last Sunday’s Connacht Club final against Ballintubber at McHale Park may have been well intentioned but, at is transpired, were utterly misplaced and needless. For, once again, the opposition could hardly lay a glove on Stephen Rochford’s men.

This eagerly-awaited confrontation was supposed to be the defining test for the Galway champions in the province, but the match never lived it up to its billing simply because Corofin were too good; too classy; too powerful. After 44 minutes, they had stormed into a commanding 2-10 to 0-4 lead as Ballintubber became the latest victims of their unrelenting intensity and superior football.

On this evidence, Corofin will win the club’s second All-Ireland title next March. Apart from the sheer quality of their players, the team’s huge work-rate and the pace in which they move the ball has put them on a different to all rivals so far in 2014. Though it took them nine minutes to score against Ballintubber and they only led by 0-7 to 0-4 at the interval, the reality was that the Mayo holders were barely hanging on.

Young Iain Burke was the Corofin player who did the damage early on. He landed four of their opening six points, including a brilliant effort from play in the 24th minute. With the tireless Michael Lundy and the Martin Farragher also picking off fine scores, they were never headed by a Ballintubber outfit which really struggled to cope with the pressure they were coming under in all sectors of the field

Though the Mayo men might have thought they still had a chance at half-time, those notions were quickly dispelled on the resumption. Corofin’s long serving full back Kieran Fitzgerald fisted over a rousing point in the 33rd minute before two superbly engineered goals in quick succession from the impressive Gary Sice and Burke put them into an unassailable lead and, in the process, left a sixth Connacht Club triumph inevitable.

Team captain Michael Farragher had provided the key pass for Sice’s goal and it was his precise defence-splitting delivery to the same player which led directly to the team’s second green flag. All over the field, Corofin were dominant as their backs hardly allowed influential opponents, Cillian O’Connor and Alan Dillon, a look in although the latter did escape their shackles to notch a second-half goal and point, admittedly when the game was already over as a contest.

With Gary Delaney, Daithi Burke, Ronan Steede and Greg Higgins all influential in the primary ball-winning sectors, Corofin lived up to their reputation in producing another top class performance. The favourites tag doesn’t seem to bother them at all and, if anything, that mantle is proving a positive catalyst in their continued blitzing of all opponents who stand in their way.

Having reached the Connacht final without having being put any serious pressure, Corofin ought to have been some vulnerable, at least in theory, but their players are clearly in a strong mental zone and were primed for the challenge. Early on Ballintubber had no shortage of possession, but they shot some bad wides and were hardly allowed breathe by arguably the best Galway club team of modern times.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Turlough’s thumping of title holders opens up the hurling championship

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St Thomas’ v Turloughmore Senior Hurling Championship game at Kenny Park, Athenry. Dara Whelan, Turloughmore and Victor Manso, St Thomas’

Inside Track with John McIntyre

TURLOUGHMORE blew the Galway senior hurling championship wide open with an unexpected thumping of title holders St Thomas’ at Kenny Park on Saturday. With questions to answer after fading badly in an earlier group tie against Clarinbridge, Franny Forde’s charges achieved a statement victory which must have sent shock waves throughout the county.

Having come up narrowly short in the 2020 decider against St Thomas’ in front of empty terraces in Athenry, Turlough looked like a team primed to exploit significant under-age success, but they had a blow-out in last year’s preliminary quarter-final when surrendering a 10-point lead to rank outsiders Kilnadeema/Leitrim.

That left the team with questions to answer heading into 2022, and that disappointing 0-24 to 0-17 loss to Clarinbridge in August appeared to confirm that Turloughmore were missing the level of substance and belief in their ranks which potential champions require. But all bets are off after last Saturday’s demolition job of St Thomas’.

Carrying the day by a scarcely believable 2-23 to 0-14 against an admittedly out-of-sorts champions must do wonders for the squad’s confidence, and with Seán Loftus continuing to hurl up a storm in the group stages – seven points of his 1-12 total came from play – Turloughmore are now serious contenders for title glory.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

McStay getting Mayo post means Galway must be wary about 2023

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Mountbellew-Moylough's Leo Donnellan and Mikey Culhane of Salthill Knocknacarra battling for possession during Sunday's Senior Football Champiomship tie at Tuam Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

Those of us who were thinking that a protracted period of dominance in the province lay ahead of the Galway footballers are probably revising that opinion in the light of Kevin McStay taking over the unluckiest team of all-time. When it comes to bad breaks, Mayo are in a league of their own.

Losing six All-Ireland finals – including the 2016 replay against Dublin – over the past decade has been gut wrenching for both players and supporters. There is only so much big-day misery a county can take, but Mayo remain the eternal optimists; their spirits unbroken. Football is their lifeblood, the pulse of everyday life up there.

Yet, even their most optimistic fans must have thought that the All-Ireland dream is finally over for Leer Keegan, Rob Hennelly, the O’Connors, Kevin McLaughlin and Aidan O’Shea after a tame quarter-final exit to Kerry this summer. Coming on the back of last year’s demoralising final defeat to Tyrone, the general presumption was that Mayo faced a significant period of transition.

It was no surprise when James Horan stood down as manager in the wake of the Kerry loss, with four candidates interested in filling the vacancy – McStay being joined in the race by Ray Dempsey, Mike Solan and Declan Shaw who all put together strong backroom teams with the likes of Armagh’s Oisín McConville and Sligo’s Eamon O’Hara seemingly willing to throw in their lot with Mayo.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Donoghue and Kelly join the list of outsiders hoping to work the oracle

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Ardrahan team manager Syl Dolan supported by his grandchildren Jack, Shay, Leo and PJ against Portumna in the county hurling championship in Gort last Saturday.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

Why is it that a majority of hurling counties regularly shun homegrown local managerial talent in favour of high-profile outsiders? Sure, such a scenario remains an anathema to the traditional powers of Kilkenny, Cork and Tipperary, but most of the rest regularly have their heads turned by non-natives.

The reality is that no county in nearly 25 years has lifted the McCarthy Cup with someone from beyond their borders in charge. Of course, Offaly are the one team which has benefited from having an outside influence, with Diarmuid Healy, Eamon Cregan and Galway’s own Michael Bond between them leading the Midlanders to All-Ireland glory on four different occasions.

But still the fad persists. Look at what’s ahead of us in 2023. A Galway man (Micheál Donoghue) taking over Dublin; another Galway man (Johnny Kelly) about to be installed as Offaly boss; a Tipperary man (Darragh Egan) in charge of Wexford; another Tipperary man (Darren Gleeson) still occupying the Antrim role; a Clare man (Davy Fitzgerald) back with Waterford, and the prospect of a Waterford man (Derek McGrath) filling the vacancy in Laois.

It has caught most Galway hurling observers by surprise that Donoghue is throwing in his lot with Dublin for a three-year term, especially as it’s only the Autumn of 2019 that he pulled the plug on his management of Galway, citing family reasons and a difficult working relationship with some local GAA officials.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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