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Ian Burke netted a first half goal for Corofin.
Ian Burke netted a first half goal for Corofin.

Corofin edge tense thriller


AIB Connacht Club SFC Semi-Final

COROFIN 2-15 ST BRIGID’S 1-14

By Cian O'Connell at Tuam Stadium

Ultimately, a tense Tuam Stadium thriller was decided by the intervention of three time Hurling All Star Daithi Burke’s goal.

An absorbing encounter dripping with drama certainly went the distance, but Burke supplied the decisive blow in extra-time.

While St Brigid’s contributed handsomely in an action packed tussle, Corofin just had a bit of extra guile to set-up an intriguing Connacht Final against Castlebar Mitchels.

So disappointed with how last year’s provincial decider unfolded, St Brigid’s thundered into the contest posing several questions early on.

Frankie Dolan’s charges were primed for a battle with two points from Senan Kilbride (free) and the busy Padraig Kelly signaling their intent.

Corofin, who squandered several decent scoring chances throughout the first half, did response with Ian Burke and Gary Sice nailing scores, but Brigid’s continued to probe.

Cathal McHugh, Kilbride (free), and Kelly all landed points for the Roscommon outfit, who accumulated a 0-2 to 0-5 advantage by the 19th minute.

Brigid’s even survived a couple of scares as Martin Farragher’s goal effort was denied by the post, while Ian Burke also had an effort taken from the line.

Corofin, though, persisted and drew level in the 24th minute when Ian Burke planted a goal following a sharp move involving Michael Farragher and Micheal Lundy.

That captured Corofin at their direct best, utilising a sweet kick pass from Lundy and two further points from Jason Leonard ensured the Galway standard bearers left armed with a 1-5 to 0-6 advantage at the interval.

After the restart Corofin struck four of the first five points to move five clear, but Brigid’s remained gritty.

By the 47th minute Corofin’s cushion was 1-11 to 0-9 when Brigid’s netted an opportunistic goal courtesy of Cathal McHugh.

Suddenly Brigid’s gained belief even though they missed three very scorable frees with the issue delicately poised.

Michael Farragher nudged Corofin 1-12 to 1-10 in front with only seconds remaining, but Kilbride converted two late frees to force extra-time.

It was similarly exciting in extra-time as Brigid’s edged ahead twice, but Corofin replied with a splendid Ronan Steede effort ensuring Corofin led 1-15 to 1-14.

Seconds later Burke applied the vital touch to make the Brigid’s net dance and Corofin subsequently closed the deal. Another gripping game with Mitchels beckons in a fortnight.

Scorers for Corofin: Ian Burke 1-2, Gary Sice and  Jason Leonard (1f) 0-4 each, Daithi Burke 1-0, Michael Farragher 0-2, Ronan Steede, Kieran Molloy, and Colin Brady 0-1 each.

Scorers for St Brigid’s: Senan Kilbride 0-7 (6fs), Cathal McHugh 1-3 (2fs), Padraig Kelly 0-3, Shane Mannion 0-1 (45).

COROFIN: Bernard Power; Liam Silke, Kieran Fitzgerald, Ciaran McGrath; Micheal Lundy, Conor Cunningham, Kieran Molloy; Michael Farragher, Ronan Steede; Colin Brady, Gary Sice, Jason Leonard; Dylan Wall, Martin Farragher, Ian Burke.

Subs: Dylan McHugh for Micheal Lundy (49), Daithi Burke for Conor Cunningham (50), Justin Burke for Martin Farragher (58), Ciaran Brady for Colin Brady (60), Barry O’Donovan for Kieran Molloy (70), Colin Brady for Dylan Wall (78), Kevin Murphy for Ronan Steede (80).

ST BRIGID’S: Shane Mannion; Darragh Sheehy, Peter Domican, Niall McInerney; Ronan Stack, Ian Kilbride, Johnny Murray; Garvan Dolan, Eddie Nolan; Conor Murray, Darren Dolan, Padraig Kelly; Cathal McHugh, Senan Kilbride, Brian Stack.

Subs: Darragh Donnelly for Conor Murray (37), David Cunniffe for Darren Dolan (41), Eoin Sheehy for Eddie Nolan (50), Jack McDonnell for Cathal McHugh (58), Cathal McHugh for Jack McDonnell (70), Eddie Nolan for Padraig Kelly (75).

REFEREE: Eamonn O’Grady (Leitrim).

***

AIB Connacht SFC Semi-Final

CASTLEBAR MITCHELS 1-13 TOURLESTRANE 0-9

Castlebar Mitchels finished strongly to defeat Tourlestrane at Elverys MacHale Park.

The hard working Sligo champions were level at the interval, 0-7 each, but Mitchels took charge after the restart.

Danny Kirby's 52nd minute goal proved to be the key score for Mitchels, who will now face Corofin in the decider.

David Stenson struck six points for Mitchels, while Kirby and Neil Douglas were others who made an impact.

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