Salthill can reach first Co. final since 2005September 14, 2012 - 7:00am
WE’RE down to the penultimate stage of the Galway senior club football championship this weekend and the top four teams that were fancied to challenge for the Frank Fox Cup at the beginning of the 2012 campaign have emerged through the pack and are still standing: Corofin, Killererin, Salthill/Knocknacarra and Tuam Stars.
Between them, Corofin, Killererin and Salthill have collected eleven of the past 13 county titles; while Tuam Stars, who unsuccessfully contested last year’s final, have history and tradition on their side, being the most successful club team in Galway with 25 titles.
It makes for a fascinating double header in Tuam Stadium on Sunday when reigning champions Corofin look to replicate last year’s win over Tuam in the decider to reach their eighth final since 2000.
In the later game, Salthill/Knocknacarra are aiming to get back into a first senior final since 2005 when they went on to capture the club All-Ireland the following St Patrick’s Day. Standing in their way is Killererin, who are still reeling from last year’s heavy defeat at the hands of Salthill in round two of the championship, when the ‘hangover’ of the Connacht final exit the previous season loomed large in the Barnaderg outfit’s dismal display.
Local bookmaker John Mulholland’s gives Killererin (10/11) the nod over Salthill (11/10); and goes for Corofin (8/13) over Tuam (13/8). The senior relegation battle should be just as entertaining, with Barna taking on Kilkerrin/Clonberne at 6pm in Corofin on Saturday, and Killanin facing Claregalway on Sunday at noon at Pearse Stadium.
If Killanin and Kilkerrin / Clonberne lose, then they will drop to intermediate, having lost the opening relegation round robin games. If one of them can manage to win, then the relegation dogfight will go down to the last round of games. Elsewhere, in the intermediate semi-finals, Athenry take on Oughterard (4.15pm) and Carna/Caiseal play Clonbur (6pm) in a double header at Pearse Stadium on Saturday.
Tuam Stars V Corofin (Tuam Stadium, 2.30pm)
A rematch of last year’s county final and a rematch of the 2012 first round championship clash in which Corofin emerged on top in both, quite comfortably in the end, winning 0-16 to 1-6 in the 2011 decider and 0-14 to 1-6 back in May. Nothing radical has happened since those two games that would suggest Tuam Stars will make it third time lucky, but anything can happen in a local derby.
The Stars trounced Killanin 6-11 to 0-8 in the ‘back door’ round, a result and performance you can dismiss as a freak given the paucity of their opponents. They subsequently knocked out Mountbellew/Moylough (0-15 to 0-12) and Milltown (0-14 to 1-8) to reach this stage of the race but again you have to wonder are Mountbellew/Moylough a team on the slide and are Milltown far better on paper than in practice?
Still, Tuam can only beat what’s put in front of them, they are on an upward curve and manager Kevin Reidy will be pleased with the performances of the likes of Tony Costello, Jamie Murphy, Conor Doherty and Shane Gaffney, who are showing the kind of form that brought them to the final last season. Apart from ‘bumps and bruises’, Reidy says he has a full panel to pick from.
For more, read this week's Galway City Tribune.