Corofin minors pull off a surprise win over fancied rivalsOctober 18, 2012 - 7:00am
CIAN O’CONNELL AT PEARSE STADIUM
REGARDLESS of the level, Salthill-Knocknacarra have traditionally been spooked by Corofin in the latter stages of championship action and this County Minor A final at Pearse Stadium on Sunday followed a familiar script.
Salthill-Knocknacarra entered the decider stocked with several key figures from last year's triumph, but they were simply caught out by Corofin's cuteness. Brian Murphy, Jimmy Sice, and Gary Delaney had Corofin fit and focused with Martin Farragher's splendid 45th minute goal the decisive score.
The title holders never recovered from that blow and the injuries that disrupted their campaign meant that they couldn't chase the game with a full deck. In the closing stages, Corofin frustrated Salthill-Knocknacarra completely aware that they had something to protect.
Salthill-Knocknacarra did battle until the bitter end and while little was wrong with their commitment, it was Corofin who were more convincing. Whoever is cool and composed usually prevails; that was undoubtedly the case at the seaside venue.
The opening period was a tale of Corofin efficiency and Salthill-Knocknacarra hesitancy. Though the City outfit were playing into the teeth of a strong breeze, they gathered plenty of possession, but didn't use it too wisely.
Salthill-Knocknacarra's kicking from deep was poor as they failed to truly utilise the potent inside skills of Seanie Hughes and Brian Seagrave. When their attack got into the scoring zone, their shot selection was questionable and as the half lingered on, Corofin visibly grew in confidence.
Corofin's central players were contributing handsomely, especially centre-back Liam Silke, who repeatedly drove out with possession. At centrefield, Conor Cunningham was forceful, while Brian Raftery grafted diligently and Salthill-Knocknacarra were struggling to attain any real fluency.
Oisin Murphy and Seagrave had traded points before Corofin pounced for a settling 13th minute goal. Jason Leonard, an influential figure for the victors, lofted a distance free into a crowded goalmouth where Salthill-Knocknacarra's Kyle Tobin was unable to hold on to the ball and when it spilled kindly for Dylan Wall, the corner forward's finish was opportunistic, the Salthill-Knocknacarra net was rattled, and Corofin were on their way.
For more, read this weekl's Connacht Tribune.