Corofin will play Castlebar Mitchels in this year’s Connacht final

Stephen Rochford’s team put four goals past Sligo champions as Clan na nGael defeated

Corofin 4-14 St Mary’s 2-6

Defending champions Corofin fired a warning shot to the other title contenders in this year’s All-Ireland club championship with a confident defeat of Sligo champions St Mary’s in Markievicz Park on Sunday.

Three goals from corner-forward Martin Farragher helped Corofin to a 14-point win, with the fourth goal coming from Michael Lundy.

That was the first score of the game and came inside the opening three minutes from the penalty spot.


Playing with the swirling wind at their backs, Corofin added points from Ronan Steede and Gary Sice before Farragher struck for their second goal on 12 minutes.

Manager Stephen Rochford felt the early scores made all the difference.

“We got off to a great start, getting the goal early in those conditions.

“We knew we had to get on the front foot against them, and that was a great settler for us.

“The second goal came at a great time as well, and we haven’t been getting off to great starts this year compared to last year, so that was promising for us.”

St Mary’s only managed their first score after 18 minutes as impressive full-forward Dylan Kilgallon - son of former Mayo All-Star footballer TJ - broke Mark Breheny’s delivery into the path of county minor Kyle Cawley, who directed it to the net.

The Sligo side enjoyed their best spell of the game after this, and added points from Rory Guinan, Mark Breheny and Kilgallon.

But Corofin were ahead by double scores at the break, 2-6 to 1-3, thanks to points from Ian Burke, Jason Leonard and Lundy.

Wing-forward Colm Egan landed a fine point from play early in the second half, but this proved to be St Mary’s only score for the opening 25 minutes of the period.

Instead Corofin pulled clear, with Farragher, Lundy, Burke and Steede all adding to their tally, before Farragher netted again to end the game as a contest in the 48th minute.

Gary Sice and Lundy combined to set that score up, and the final nail in the coffin involved both once again just six minutes later as Farragher this time smashed the ball home off the underside of the crossbar.

St Mary’s claimed a second goal in the final five minutes when Guinan slid the ball to the net under goalkeeper Tom Healy. And the centre-forward also pointed a free, as did Mark Breheny, but they were merely consolation scores for the Sligo side as Corofin go into another Connacht final.

Corofin: T Healy; P Kelly, K Fitzgerald, A Burke; C McGrath, C Cunningham, L Silke (0-1); Michael Farragher, R Steede (0-2); G Sice (0-1, 1f), D Wall, M Lundy (1-3, 1-0 pen); J Leonard (0-1), I Burke (0-4), Martin Farragher (3-2, 1f).

Subs: G Higgins for A Burke (ht), B O’Donovan for Leonard (39), C Silke for Kelly (48), K Molloy for McGrath (50), S Monaghan for I Burke (52), J Burke for Sice (54).

St Mary's: F Ruddy; S Keenan, J Martyn, L Henry; N McManus, J Davey, G O'Kelly-Lynch; M Butler, B Smith; M Breheny (0-2, 2f), R Guinan (1-2, 2f), C Egan (0-1); K Cawley (1-0), D Kilgallon (0-1), S Coen.

Subs: C Breheny for Cawley (ht), J Lynch for McManus (42), P Kilcoyne for Smith (55), N Rooney for Kilgallon (58), C Kelly for C Breheny (black card 60).

Ref: L Devenney (Mayo).

Castlebar Mitchels 3-8 Clann na nGael 0-13

A whirlwind start which yielded two goals in the opening three minutes provided the platform for Castlebar Mitchels to overcome Clann na nGael in a keenly-contested Connacht club semi-final at Hyde Park.

Paul Curran’s team - who were returning to the provincial stage for the first time since 1996 - recovered from their disastrous start to narrow the gap to two points early in the second-half but they couldn’t get the goal they would have put Castlebar on the back foot.

Instead, the Mayo team - who won the Connacht title two years ago - showed their experience and guile to get scores when needed.

Castlebar pounced after just 40 seconds as a quick free unlocked the Roscommon champions’ defence and Danny Kirby set up Richie Feeney who drilled a powerful shot to the net from 13 metres. Feeney turned provider in the third minute when his angled run to collect Shane Hopkins’s pass put him through on goal and he found Barry Moran who bundled the ball over the line from close range.

Roscommon players Donie Shine, Ultan Harney and Cathal Shine led the Clann fightback. Following an exchange of frees between Jamie Fahy and Eoghan O'Reilly, Donie Shine kicked over three unanswered points.

After struck for a third goal in 22nd minute as they again opened up the home team’s defence too easily. A quick flurry of passes involving Moran, Neil Douglas and Feeney allowed Kirby to score.

By half-time Clann had whittled the deficit to four points with scores from both Shines and two from the impressive Harney. Castlebar’s only reply was a Kirby point.

Within two minutes of the resumption Donie Shine had converted two frees to leave just two between the teams but Clann missed two good chances during a tense 10-minute scoreless spell. Castlebar regained control with three well-taken points in three minutes from Douglas, the excellent Paddy Durkan and Shane Hopkins.

Castlebar never let Clann get closer than four points and the home team’s last chance went when Harney’s double-effort for a goal was blocked by Tom Cunniffe and Rory Byrne.

Castlebar joint-manager Declan Shaw said his team must improve if they are to beat All-Ireland champions Corofin in the Connacht final.

“The early goals were important because we were up against it in the last 15 minutes. We took our foot off the pedal after that and allowed Clann into it, especially around the middle. “You can’t play in spells and expect to be Connacht champions. We have a lot to work on and today’s performance won’t be good enough against Corofin,” Shaw said.

Castlebar: R Byrne; T Cunniffe, A Feeney, D Newcombe; P Durcan (0-1), E O'Reilly (0-2, frees), R O'Malley; G McDonagh, B Moran (1-0); S Hopkins (0-1), N Lydon, A Walsh; N Douglas (0-1, free), R Feeney (1-0), D Kirby (1-1). Subs: C Costello (0-1) for Walsh (bc) (35 mins), J Durkan (0-1) for Hopkins (45 mins), F Durkan for Lydon (50 mins), S Keane for Douglas (60 mins), R Burke for Kirby (bc) (60 mins).

Clann na nGael: R O'Reilly; R Gavin, D Flynn, S Pettit,; J Connaughton, G Pettit, F Lennon; C Shine (0-1), D Shine (0-8, frees); E Kenny, U Harney (0-2), M Scally; J Fahy (0-1, free), R McManus, J Dunning. Subs: C Callinan for Scally (24 mins), D Connaughton for McManus (40 mins), S Flynn for S Pettit (42 mins), D Pettit for Kenny (half-time), R Naughton for Fahy (52 mins), A O'Reilly for Dunning (60 mins).

Referee: J Gilmartin (Sligo).