Corofin’s Luke Neylon, Cillian McGoary and Marc O’Loughlin. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography
COROFIN have consolidated their senior status and ended Clondegad’s twelve year stint as a top tier club.
Beaten county finalists in 2017 Clondegad will be competing in the intermediate grade for the first time in over a decade after falling down to Corofin after extra time on Sunday afternoon.
Indeed the Ballynacally side had more than plenty of opportunities to prevail on this occasion, spurning a total of thirteen scoring chances, six of which arrived in extra time. Podge McMahon almost forced a penalty shootout but his free at the death sailed to the left side of the goal.
Relief is ordinarily the predominant feeling for the victorious side in the final that nobody wants to be in and it was evident at the final whistle with Fionn Clancy and Cillian McGroary falling to their knees when referee Fergal O’Brien brought a halt to proceedings.
Like all relegation deciders, it was tetchy and tense with plenty of emotion visible from either camp. Though extra time was a particularly nervy spell, the football was off the level needed to be in the business end of the championship.
In his first championship appearance of the year, Gearoid O’Connell kicked the opening score inside the first minute but Corofin replied with a well-worked move as Jamie Malone and Gearoid Cahill combined to tee up Michael Kelly.
Cillian McGroary with a well-taken free from distance was cancelled out by Ryan Jennings, the wing back powering forward with a thundering run to get on the end of a Clondegad move.
Clondegad were back in front when Morgan Garry won the kickout from Jennings’ score and offloaded to Barry Toner who split the posts. Toner had the chance to raise a green flag on six minutes but Cilléin Mullins made a block to force a 45.
Jamie Malone and Gary Brennan traded efforts before Ryan Jennings had his second score, again tearing down the right hand side before converting.
Malone and Gearoid Cahill had the sides level with a swift response before Clondegad kicked three of the final four scores of the half to hold an 0-8 0-6 advantage at the half-time whistle.
Scores dried up for Clondegad against the elements in the second half, Gudgy O’Connell’s effort a mere forty four seconds into the half was their only score of this period with Corofin adding efforts via Gearoid Cahill and Killian O’Connor on the double to bring the tie to extra time.
Gudgy O’Connell did receive his marching orders from the referee after receiving a second yellow card.
Although they had just his score in the second half, Clondegad had plenty of chances and kicked four misses which ensured extra time settled proceedings.
Diarmuid Cahill was the only player to register a score in the first period of extra time while a Gary Brennan free on seventy nine minutes was his side’s only score in forty seven minutes. Crucially for Corofin, Cillian McGroary had also stood up to score from play to ensure by the sounding of the full-time whistle they were the victorious side.
MORE TO FOLLOW
Scorers Corofin: G Cahill (0-3 2f 1M), C McGroary (0-2 1f), K O’Connor (0-2 1f), J Malone (0-2 1f), M Kelly (0-1), D Cahill (0-1 1f).
Scorers Clondegad: G Brennan (0-3 3f), G O’Connell (0-2), R Jennings (0-2), B Toner (0-1), P McMahon (0-1 1f), F Kirby (0-1).
1: Luke Neylon
10: Fionn Clancy
3: Cilléin Mullins
2: Marc O’Loughlin
5: Cillian McGroary
6: Damien O’Loughlin
7: John Rees
9: Kevin Keane
18: Fergus Killeen
12: Michael Kelly
8: Jamie Malone
14: Gearoid Kelly
13: Killian O’Connor
11: Gearoid Cahill
15: Cillian Clancy
22: Diarmuid Cahill for Killeen (HT)
4: Ross Hayes for D O’Loughlin (40)
20: Robin Mounsey for G Kelly (45)
21: Colm Rice for C Clancy (53)
24: Damien Ryan for Keane (59)
Damien O’Loughlin for O’Connor (FT) (inj)
25: Caoimhin O’Donovan for M Kelly (66)
17: Cian Doolin for Rees (73)
19: Eoin Davoren for D O’Loughlin (79)
1: Darren Cleary
3: Conor Gavin
6: Peter Casey
5: Brian Murphy
10: Ryan Jennings
8: Morgan Garry
27: Cillian Brennan
14: Gary Brennan
9: James Murphy
18: Brandon O’Connell
30: Gearoid O’Connell
11: Barry Toner
7: Evan Flynn
13: Podge McMahon
15: Fiachra Kirby
16: Declan O’Loughlin for Cleary (20) (inj)
29: Sean McAllister for Murphy (49)
22: Colm Meaney for Kirby (58)
28: Eoghan Donnellan on at FT to bring Clondegad back to 15
25: Sean O’Leary for O’Connell (73)
12: Cillian Gavin for C Brennan (72)
20: Cian Kirby for Toner (77)
Referee: Fergal O’Brien (Broadford)