Rampant Corofin refusing to talk about historic three-in-a-row
Early Michael Lundy goal crucial to impressive semi-final win over Nemo Rangers
Corofin’s Micheal Lundy scores a goal against Nemo Rangers. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Corofin manager Kevin O’Brien insists the prospect of them becoming the first team to win three All-Ireland club titles in a row has not, and will not, be mentioned in their camp as they prepare for a showdown with Kilcoo in less than two weeks.
Corofin have pushed on from winning their seventh Galway title in a row and a record 10th Connacht crown to reach another All-Ireland final but O’Brien said there is never any mention of landmarks or history in their squad.
Their big-day experience is set to make them hot favourites against newcomers Kilcoo and while they are within an hour of history, O’Brien said smashing records is not what drives them and the prospect of a three-in-a-row doesn’t feature on the agenda:
“We haven’t talked about that or anything, and we won’t be. Our thing is the next game and history will look after itself after that. Our lads are mature enough to know that. We have to focus on that,” said O’Brien after they brushed aside the challenge of the most prolific winners of the competition at Cusack Park in Ennis on Saturday.
A goal after just 33 seconds from Michael Lundy against a side which hadn’t conceded one in six championship games going back to last August, laid down the foundation for their success.
They had 1-4 on the board by the time Alan O’Donovan eventually opened Nemo’s account six minutes from the break, with Corofin taking a 1-5 to 0-2 lead into the break.
The third quarter was the most even of the contest but while the sides twice exchanged points with Luke Connolly responding to a brace from Lundy and Martin Farragher, an effort from Kevin O’Donovan, which reduced the gap to double scores with 20 minutes left, was as close as the Munster champions got.
Corofin never looked like surrendering that 1-7 to 0-5 lead in the final quarter with Ronan Steede and Daithi Burke dominating midfield and Ian Burke finishing strongly to compliment the work of Gary Sice and the Farragher brothers, Martin and Mike.
“The lads are fantastic and I think the culture within the group is fantastic,” added O’Brien. “If you look back, this is probably our fourth semi-final in a row. But a lot of guys have probably left and come into the panel and nothing has really changed. That is credit to them.”
Nemo Rangers manager Paul O’Donovan said the early goal was a killer for a team hoping to gain revenge on a Corofin side who hammered them by 15 points in the All-Ireland final less than two years ago.
“I didn’t think there was that much of a gap between the teams this time but that was the difference throughout. If you took the goal out of it, and if we converted five of our wides you are looking at a very even game then. But that is easy to say now. We were closer to them today than we’ll probably ever get credit for.
“It was a poor start, they worked the goal very well. And it’s hard to claw back a lead from them. We struggled, at times, in the first-half. Unlike us, we gave away a lot of possession. We got turned over.
“We knew they were hard in the tackle and they were strong in the tackle, but we still got turned over too easily. I thought, coming up to half-time, the 10 minutes before half-time, we came more into the game. We struggled to get scores because of the nature of the game and the way it is going now. They go back and defend, with 12 and 13 behind the ball, much the same as we were doing. I have no complaints there. That is the way the game is gone. They did it very well. They stopped us getting the ball inside to where we felt we had scoring forwards.”
Corofin: B Power; K Fitzgerald, C Silke, L Silke; K Molloy (0-1), C Brady, C Cunningham; D Burke, R Steede (0-1); Michael Farragher (0-1), G Sice (0-1, 0-1 frees), J Leonard (0-1, 0-1 45); M Lundy (1-1), Martin Farragher (0-2), I Burke (0-2). Subs: D Wall for Lundy (49 mins), D McHugh for Cunningham (57), D Silke for Sice (60), G Burke for C Brady (60), C McGrath for L Silke (62), D Canney for Martin Farragher (62).
Nemo Rangers: M A Martin; K Histon, A O’Reilly, A Cronin; J Horgan, S Cronin, K O’Donovan (0-1); A O’Donovan (0-1), J McDermott; B O’Driscoll (0-1), P Kerrigan, C O’Brien; L Connolly (0-2, 0-1 frees), C Horgan (0-1), M Cronin. Subs: K Fulignati for O’Brien (41 mins), C Dalton (0-1) for C Horgan (49), R Dalton for M Cronin (53).
Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry)