*Corofin’s Diarmuid Cahill gets away from Niall McCarthy. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

COROFIN are through to the semi-finals of the Clare SFC for the second time in their history.

Corofin 1-19
Lissycasey 0-16
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis

Producing a dominant start where they went 0-05 0-01 ahead with six minutes on the clock, Corofin were just as impressive when it came to finishing out the game, notching 1-06 in the final eleven minutes of normal time.

Adept at moving the ball from defence to attack, Corofin’s bulk of scoring options also served as a big aid in overcoming Lissycasey on Sunday afternoon.

Early scores from Jamie Malone, Gearoid Kelly, Robin Mounsey and Eoin Davoren pushed the North Clare side into the ascendancy with Lissycasey first registering via Aaron Griffin on the fourth minute.

Four points was the margin on twenty two minutes but Lissycasey settled with three scores in succession to cut the arrears to a single score. Cian Meaney and Aaron Griffin both pointed to level matters for the first time with thirty minutes on the clock but Mounsey would split the posts at the other end to give Corofin a slender one point advantage at the interval.

Mikey O’Neill’s dismissal, a second yellow card which was issued following an instruction by linesman Niall Malone on forty one minutes was a seismic moment in the tie. O’Neill clashes with Conor Leen by the sideline with the Corofin defender appearing to make more of the incident than there was and this resulted in O’Neill getting his marching orders.

While it weakened the cause of the 2007 champions, particularly when it came to the late surge at the end, few of the spectators in Cusack Park would dispute that the better side won out on the day.

Thomas Collins had made a fine save to stop Jamie Malone moments previously and an altercation between Seamus Collins and Gearoid Kelly then followed by Collins and Leen had added some spice to proceedings and certainly fuelled the desire within both camps.

Lissycasey initially rallied following O’Neill’s sending off, kicking the next two scores but then came another detrimental blow. An encapsulating passage of blow saw a wonder turnover where Conor Finucane snatched the ball back, only to lose and his teammate Seamus Collins was forced to make an inspiring block, they worked the ball up the field and Aaron Griffin had a shot blocked by an equally inspiring Damien O’Loughlin. In a fantastic counter-attack, it seemed that a fantastic finger tip save from Thomas Collins had averted the danger but Corofin stayed alert and Kevin Keane teed up Jamie Malone to palm the ball past a helpless Collins on forty nine minutes.

Malone’s green flag created a three point gap, while Enda Finucane converted a free to cut it back to two points, Corofin kicked on with the next five points on the trot to take the wind from their opponent’s sails and march onto the semi-finals.

With such a vibrant attack, Corofin are really proving they can be a force at senior level. They set the tone with a commanding opening round win over St Joseph’s Miltown and despite suffering setbacks in subsequent games to St Breckan’s and Éire Óg, they have bounced back to propel themselves into the last four. Jamie Malone, Diarmuid Cahill, Damien O’Loughlin, Cillian McGroary and Gearoid Kelly were best on the day for the reigning intermediate champions.

Aspirations of reaching a third successive semi-final came undone for Lissycasey who will rue their slow start to proceedings, a trend that has regrettably been a trait of theirs this year. They reacted well to every setback thrown their way but didn’t play to their strengths. Captain Seamus Collins was superb with Mikey O’Neill until his harsh dismissal, Shane Griffin and Aaron Griffin showing well.

Scorers Corofin: D Cahill (0-05 2f 1M), J Malone (1-02), R Mounsey (0-04), G Kelly (0-03), E Davoren (0-01 1f), S O’Brien (0-01), G Cahill (0-01 1f), K Keane (0-01), C McGroary (0-01)

Scorers Lissycasey: A Griffin (0-05), C Finucane (0-04 3f), S Griffin (0-03), E Finucane (0-02 2f), C Meaney (0-02).

1: Luke Neylon

2: Marc O’Loughlin
7: Cillian McGroary
3: Ross Hayes

12: Fionn Clancy

5: Colm Rice
6: Damien O’Loughlin
21: Killian O’Connor

8: Jamie Malone
9: Sean O’Brien

10: Gearoid Kelly
13: Diarmuid Cahill
17: Eoin Davoren

11: Gearoid Cahill
15: Robin Mounsey

18: Conor Leen for O’Connor (HT) (inj)
14: Kevin Keane for Davoren (44)
19: Damien Ryan for Kelly (49)
25: Cian Doolin for Clancy (53)
4: Cilléin Mullins for Rice (60)

1: Thomas Collins

6: Niall McCarthy
3: Ryan Griffin
5: Oisin Hanrahan

7: Cyril Sheehan
4: Seamus Collins
2: Niall Kelly

15: Mikey O’Neill

8: Matt O’Shea
10: Enda Finucane

12: Cian Meaney
11: Aaron Griffin
9: Conor Finucane

14: Shane Griffin
13: Connor Meaney

18: Luke Griffin for Kelly (44)
19: Francie Hayes for Meaney (45)

Referee: Chris Maguire (Wolfe Tones)

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