Ballina end Corofin reign

 

Corofin surrendered their Connacht and All-Ireland titles when they were beaten by Ballina Stephenites in a rip-roaring Connacht quarter-final replay at Ballina yesterday. The attendance at the drawn game on Saturday at Ballina was 3,000. Yesterday that had swelled by another 2,000 to witness a game that produced everything associated with club championship football.

The defending champions made a number of changes in personnel for yesterday's replay but it was Ballina who set the early pace and looked to have the game well in hand when they led by 0-9 to 0-3 five minutes into the second half. Liam McHale was again the dominant figure in the middle of the field for Ballina while James Devenney was solid as a rock at full back.

Corofin had to wait until the second half before landing their first point from play - by Trevor Burke - but it sparked off a Corofin revival. Ballina were reduced to 14 players when corner back Kenneth Golden was sent off eight minutes after the break. Earlier in the game three other Ballina players and one Corofin player were booked by the referee for heavy tackles.

Corofin made good use of the extra player and with 10 minutes remaining had drawn level, 0-9 each, with Derek Reilly supplying three points, Trevor Burke two and Keith Treacy one . Ballina, who play Sligo champions Eastern Harps in the semifinal in two weeks' time, edged ahead again when Martin McGrath pointed a very difficult free. Brian McStay put two points between the teams one minute later and two minutes into injury time Corofin almost snatched a winning goal.

Ballina Stephenites: J Healy; K Golden, J Devanney, G Brady (0-1); B Ruane, B Heffernan, S Sweeney; L McHale, D Brady (0-1); B McStay (0-5), D Coen, M McGrath (0- 3); L Brady (0-1), P McGarry, K Lynn.

Corofin: M McNamara; O Burke, B Silke, J Lardner; A Fahy, R Silke, J Lardner; K Newell, M Donnellan; S Conlisk, T Burke (0-2), M Kenny; K Comer, K Treacy (0-1), D Reilly (0-6). Referee: H Beirne (Roscommon).

Saturday's Scorers: Ballina 0-9 (B McStay, M McGrath, K Lynn 0-2 each, L McHale, D Brady, P McGarry 0-1 each), Corofin 1-6 (D Reilly 0-6, M Donnellan 1-0).