AIB Club SFC Final: Corofin defeat Kilcoo
AIB All Ireland Club Senior Football Championship Final
COROFIN (GALWAY) 1-12 KILCOO (DOWN) 0-7
By Cian O'Connell at Croke Park
It went the distance, but in the end Corofin found a way to claim a third AIB All Ireland Club title on the spin.
Though Kilcoo’s rugged determination forced extra-time Corofin took charge late on clipping 1-5 without reply.
That was when the chief damage was done with substitute Conor Cunningham’s goal in the ninth minute of the first period of extra-time proving to be a critical moment.
The excellent Ronan Steede, replacement Dylan Canney, Liam Silke, and Gary Sice had notched points, but the major carried deep meaning. Corofin were seven in front and weren’t going to let Kilcoo back into the reckoning.
Tense and tactical Kilcoo were keen to avoid shipping early scores so the underdogs were content to depart at the interval armed with a slender 0-3 to 0-2 advantage.
Corofin hadn’t been allowed to attain any fluidity whatsoever in the opening period illustrated by the fact that the holders didn’t register a score until the 23rd minute.
Ronan Steede’s point was only Corofin’s third attempt of the game such was the clustered nature of Kilcoo’s defence.
At the opposite end Kilcoo squandered a string of opportunities nailing only three from 11 attempts, but it was still enough to hold a lead at the turnaround.
Paul Devlin’s stoppage time score into the Davin End was a flash of class as Mickey Moran’s outfit took plenty of encouragement from the manner in which Corofin were restricted.
When the action recommenced, though, the complexion altered significantly as Corofin seized the initiative.
Steede and Devlin (free) traded points prior to a gorgeous Wall effort, but suddenly Corofin were beginning to find small pockets of space. It was all they needed.
Kilcoo were dealt a blow in the 35th minute when a second Dylan Ward yellow card for a foul on Wall resulted in his dismissal.
Subsequent frees from Gary Sice (2) and Jason Leonard guided Corofin 0-7 to 0-4 in the ascendancy which was a healthy cushion considering the manner in which the match was unfolding.
Conor Laverty terminated a 20 minute search for a Kilcoo score ensuring it remained keenly contested and packed with incident.
Daryl Branagan briskly added another Kilcoo point to leave only the minimum between the teams with six minutes left on the clock.
Subsequently Kilcoo squandered a raft of chances and Corofin had Mike Farragher sent off for a second booking, but the Down and Ulster outfit continued to perspire.
The leveller eventually followed as Devlin stayed cool to drill a free in the 11th minute of additional time. Extra-time was necessary, but Corofin had the guile to survive and thrive.
Cunningham’s goal was the decisive play. Unfortunate not to start, Cunningham reacted promptly when Micheal Lundy’s initial shot rebounded off the woodwork.
Kilcoo couldn’t recover. The Andy Merrigan Cup returns west again.
Scorers for Corofin: Ronan Steede and Gary Sice (3fs) 0-3 each, Conor Cunningham 1-0, Jason Leonard 0-2 (1f), Cathal Silke, Liam Silke, Dylan Canney, and Dylan Wall 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kilcoo: Paul Devlin 0-5 (3fs), Conor Laverty and Darryl Branagan 0-1 each.
COROFIN: Bernard Power; Cathal Silke, Kieran Fitzgerald, Liam Silke; Colin Brady, Kieran Molloy, Dylan Wall; Daithi Burke, Ronan Steede; Micheal Lundy, Mike Farragher, Jason Leonard; Gary Sice, Martin Farragher, Ian Burke.
Subs: Conor Cunningham for Wall (35), Dylan McHugh for Molloy (48), Gavin Burke for Brady (58), Ciaran McGrath for C Silke (58), Darragh Silke for Martin Farragher (60+5), Dylan Canney for I Burke (60+7), Martin Farragher for Silke (60+9), Conor Newell for Lundy (74), Kieran Molloy for Martin Farragher (76), Ross Mahon for L Silke (77).
**Ian Burke returned as 15th player for extra-time
KILCOO: Martin McCourt; Aaron Branagan, Niall Branagan, Darryl Branagan; Aidan Branagan, Ryan McEvoy, Niall McEvoy; Dylan Ward, Aaron Morgan; Ryan Johnston, Paul Devlin, Eugene Branagan; Shealan Johnston, Jerome Johnston, Conor Laverty.
Subs: Justin Clarke for R Johnston (50), Anthony Morgan for A Branagan (58), Ryan Johnston for N McEvoy (71), Felim McGreevy for Aaron Morgan (71), Paul Greenan for D Branagan (77, BC).
**Aidan Brangan returned as 15th player for extra-time
REFEREE: Conor Lane (Cork).