Maigh Cuilinn’s champion status facing rigorous test


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Maigh Cuilinn’s champion status facing rigorous test Maigh Cuilinn’s champion status facing rigorous test


THE two teams sporting 100% records in this year’s senior football championship come head-to-head this Sunday (Pearse Stadium, 2pm) to decide the destination of the Frank Fox Cup.

It’s a final this generation hasn’t seen. And after Corofin relinquished their domestic dominance to Mountbellew/Moylough in the 2020 semi-final, they haven’t faced new top dogs Maigh Cuilinn on Galway football’s biggest day.

It’s not their first ever county final meeting. Corofin beat the west Galway club 1-9 to 0-3 back in 1977. But since Don Connellan’s team finally joined the roll of honour in 2020 before a second crown last year, they haven’t tested themselves against their predecessors in knock-out football.

They did meet in the 2022 championship at the group stages in Corofin manager Kevin Johnson’s first year in charge. Maigh Cuilinn, unbeaten since in the 2021 semi-final, were two point victors while their opponents later crashed out in the quarter-final.

Maigh Cuilinn could afford to rest Sean Kelly and Peter Cooke during the group stages. They began against An Spidéal (1-19 to 0-6) in July, before adding St. James’ (2-11 to 1-8) and Milltown (2-14 to 1-11) to their victims.

Naomh Anna Leitir Móir made a gallant fight back but still were 2-16 to 3-7 short in Round 4. And last year’s semi-finalists Annaghdown were beaten 2-11 to 1-11 in a dead rubber two weeks later.

But Maigh Cuilinn’s battling qualities were tested after and they needed Paul Kelly to fist over a winner against last year’s runners-up Salthill/Knocknacarra (0-13 to 1-9).  They maintained their impressive record against Mountbellew/Moylough two weeks ago, winning 0-11 to 0-9.

Connellan kept a settled team despite his two main absentees early on. Andrew Power missed just one game in goal, while Conor Corcoran, Neil Mulcahy, Johnny Moloney, David Wynne and Aidan Claffey have been ever present in defence.

Eoghan Kelly and Michael Moughan have shifted positions with the former at full back the last day. Cooke has kicked 0-4 from midfield in the last two games and should line up alongside Tom Clarke.

James McLaughlin is back from Australia and will cover the middle third with Sean Kelly at full back.  aul Kelly (0-8) can play anywhere from 8 to 15 with Dessie Conneely (1-38) and Own Gallagher (1-11) leading the front line.

Pictured: Corofin’s experienced attacker Dylan Wall on the ball against Gary O’Donnell of Tuam Stars during the Senior Football quarter-final. Inset: Midfielder Tom Clarke who will be a key player for champions Maigh Cuilinn against Corofin in Sunday’s Galway Final at Pearse Stadium.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up