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Inside Track

Corofin remain in league of their own after final rout

John McIntyre

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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

Hurling we have a problem: there are too many scores in the game

John McIntyre

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Galway attacker Brian Concannon comes under pressure from Waterford’s Conor Prunty during Sunday's hurling league tie at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

IT’S the summer of 2006 and a mistake-ridden Leinster hurling semi-final at Nowlan Park is unfolding. Two nervous teams chasing a big prize in a tight-marking, uninspiring battle for supremacy. In the end, Wexford somehow manage to stagger over the line despite only scoring a paltry nine points.

Imagine holding the opposition to a total score in single figures and still not winning the match. Unfortunately, I was the Offaly team manager that day and we were the ones who had to cope with that reality. Our tally only came to eight points and, in the process, a golden opportunity of victory had been spurned.

Between both teams only 17 points were registered and while that is an extreme example of when hurling was more defender friendly, what’s happening nowadays is arguably worse. There are just many scores in the game now – a scenario which reduces our appreciation of exceptional score-taking simply because they have become so frequent.

Sure, players have never been better conditioned, the sport’s stakeholders are much more tactically aware and the sliotar has become really user friendly, but spectators – If they were any! – are being turned off by this literally ‘score a minute’ phenomenon. It’s actually not unusual for three scores to be registered in just a minute.

God, I’d hate to be a defender these days with the ball whizzing all-round the place and your opponent never static. Grand, if you are a Calum Lyons or Ronan Maher who can bomb forward with impunity to fire over long-range points, but for most present-day back men, the game is nearly passing them by.

Teams have become so good at protecting possession, creating overlaps and isolating their shooters that opposition defences are left chasing shadows. An astonishing 58 scores were accumulated at Pearse Stadium last Sunday with eight players – Lyons, Dessie Hutchinson, Jack Prendergast, Joe Canning, Evan Niland, Conor Cooney, Conor Whelan and Brian Concannon all scoring at least three times from play.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway’s positive response to their Tralee trauma continues

John McIntyre

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Galway’s Peter Cooke gets his pass away against Dublin’s Sean McMahon during Sunday's National Football League encounter at Tuam Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

It’s barely three weeks since the Tralee thrashing and all the resulting criticism – much of it over the top and irrational – but Galway footballers have admirably rallied in the wake of that demoralising reversal and can now look forward to the upcoming Connacht championship with a certain sense of optimism.

Sure, nobody can disguise the reality that the Tribesmen have lost five of their last six competitive matches and are bound for a Division One league relegation battle against Monaghan, but Galway still showed a lot of promise in their weekend four-point loss to All-Ireland champions Dublin at Tuam Stadium.

The display built on their win over Roscommon the previous weekend and had Galway not bungled a great first-half goal-scoring opportunity, they would have shaken up the Dubs even more. Falling six points behind in the third quarter would really have tested the home team’s team mettle, but significantly heads never dropped.

Granted, Dublin were missing the likes of Stephen Cluxton, James McCarthy and Dean Rock, but the suggestion from a couple of pundits that they were only in ‘third gear’ in Tuam is a load of tosh. They were made to work hard for their victory with Cormac Costello, Con O’Callaghan and Ciaran Kilkenny achieving most to get them over the line.

Overall, Galway’s response to their heavy defeat against Kerry has been positive. There was no public blood-letting with management and players backing each other in their hour of need. That type of environment builds character and the manner in which they had a crack against the Dubs was heartening.

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

Post-Covid normality will have a very different feel

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin announcing the easing of restrictions.

World of Politics with Harry McGee

No sooner does one crisis come to an end in politics, but – before you can draw breath or pat yourself on the back – a new one is coming down the track. On the upside, we’re reaching the end of the lockdown. Last weekend’s good weather gave us a small preview of the kind of summer we will have, once the shackles of all the restrictions have been thrown away.

A weight will be lifted off our shoulders; problem is that somebody somewhere will come up with a brand new weights.

It reminds me of a joke from the great American comedian Jerry Seinfeld. He talked about going on a family holiday and the hassle and stress of packing the car with luggage, holiday paraphernalia and rowdy kids, and the prospect of a long hot drive in August bank holiday traffic.

This was his pay off line. “So you finally get the last item into your trunk (boot) and close it. You know the walk between the trunk and the driver’s door? You might not realise it but that in fact is your holiday.”

The point of all that is that the transition back to normality is not going to be a seamless affair. The first question is – what is normal going to look like?

For sure, it’s not going to be like the status quo ante. Sure, reopening is happening at a scale and a pace that nobody anticipated. Hotels and guesthouses are already open. By next Monday we will have outdoor hospitality and the return of many amenities including cinemas

By July there will be outdoor gigs, hundreds of spectators at sporting events, indoor dining and drinking, and even the return of international travel.

I was surprised that the normally conservative National Public Health Emergency Team agreed to the changes. When I spoke to a Minister last week, I asked what kind of resistance NPHET had put up to the proposed reopening. I was not expecting the response.

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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