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*Corofin’s Luke Neylon, Gearoid Cahill and Robin Mounsey. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

COROFIN HAVE claimed a big scalp on their return to the senior ranks after powering past fifteen time champions St Joseph’s Miltown.

Corofin 0-18
St Joseph’s Miltown 1-14
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis

Six points from the exceptional Robin Mounsey certainly stood to the North Clare men. He along with Gearoid Cahill kicked injury time points to seal the win when a draw looked to be on the cards, a result which would not have done Corofin justice.

They’re no strangers to winning under pressure, their Clare IFC final win last year saw them stun Kildysart with two goals in additional time.

Having boasted a 0-05 0-01 advantage on ten minutes, Corofin allowed their wily opponents back into the contest and this almost proved costly as the battle wore on.

That said, the win was well deserved by Douglas Hurley’s charges, they were the harder working side over the hour and played the better football to boot. The half-time scoreline of 0-09 0-07 in their favour would have been a worry and certainly didn’t reflect their dominance.

Early points from Mounsey and Gearoid Cahill who was lining out at centre-back due to the absence of the injured Damien O’Loughlin gave Corofin the impetus, Cormac Murray opened Miltown’s account on seven minutes and in the next attack a goal chance was spurned at the other end by Kevin Keane. McGroary along with Cahill and Mounsey with singles did as good as what a green flag from Keane would do to put them in a strong position inside the opening ten minutes.

Clare captain Eoin Cleary was denied with a fine save by Luke Neylon on thirteen minutes in a further sign that this was not going to be the hour for Miltown. That said, they closed out the half with five of the last eight scores to reduce the half time arrears to two points.

Sean Neylon, one of three senior championship debutants lining out for Martin Flynn’s men brought the gap to a single point on the restart only for Corofin to respond with two excellent Gearoid Kelly scores and one from Keane.

Cleary kicked his only score of the evening on thirty eight minutes, narrowing the deficit to two points but the Cahill brothers responded with Diarmuid converting a free and Gearoid winning a Sean O’Brien kickout before soloing in excess of fifty metres before pulling the trigger.

Led by Cormac Murray who contributed 0-10 to their tally, Miltown kept plugging away but crucially, he had insufficient support on the scoring stakes. Brian Curtin’s goal on forty seven minutes followed by Murray nudging them in front for the first time on fifty six minutes appeared to have swung the pendulum in their favour.

However, injury time scores from Cahill and Mounsey deservedly saw Corofin take the spoils and a pivotal two points on the board.

That Robin Mounsey has ability with the big ball should come as no surprise, given his father Colm was a very talented soccer player with Avenue Utd in his day. His display was the highlight of the Cusack Park double header and certainly will tempt Colm Collins to poach him from Brian Lohan’s county hurling squad, should he maintain such form. Gearoid Cahill proved his ability once again and coupled it up with immense leadership. Cillian McGroary and Colm Rice formed a formidable half-back line alongside Cahill with Sean O’Brien and Ross Hayes also producing fine displays.

A scoring threat was lacking but Miltown still kicked ten wides, four of them from Cian Mahoney alone. They did come into the tie with injury doubts but the champions of 2015, 2018 and 2019 have not changed their style in any capacity, the constant deployment of Brian Curtin as a sweeper totally indicative of the fact that there appears to be no new rabbits popping out of Miltown hats. They struggled terribly to win Sean O’Brien’s kickout, previously a strong pillar of theirs. Without question, the leadership of the injured Gordon Kelly was sorely missed. Their backs are to the wall now as they face Éire Óg and St Breckan’s respectively in must-win games, their response over the next fortnight will determine whether they move away from or hit the wall.

Scorers Corofin: R Mounsey (0-06), G Cahill (0-03 2f), D Cahill (0-02), G Kelly (0-02), C McGroary (0-01 1’45), K Keane (0-01), K O’Connor (0-01), J Malone (0-01)

Scorers St Joseph’s Miltown: C Murray (0-10 2f), B Curtin (1-00) D McDonagh (0-02), S Neylon (0-01), E Cleary (0-01).

1: Luke Neylon

2: Marc O’Loughlin
18: Ross Hayes
17: Brendan Keane

5: Cillian McGroary
11: Gearoid Cahill
7: Colm Rice

9: Jamie Malone
8: Sean O’Brien

15: Damien Ryan
12: Fionn Clancy
10: Gearóid Kelly

13: Diarmuid Cahill
14: Kevin Keane
24: Robin Mounsey

3: Cilléin Mullins for B Keane (45)
22: Killian O’Connor for Kelly (45)
21: Shane O’Brien for Ryan (48)
23: Eoin Davoren for Sean O’Brien (54)

St Joseph’s Miltown:
1: Sean O’Brien

2: Cormac Devitt
18: Seanie Malone
4: Eoin O’Brien

13: Brian Curtin

7: Cormac Byrne
6: Gearoid Curtin
5: Euan Reidy

9: Darragh McDonagh
8: Conor Cleary

10: Sean Neylon
11: Micheál Murray
12: Cian Mahony

21: Eoin Cleary
18: Cormac Murray

17: Aidan McGuane for Byrne (27)
20: Kieran Malone for Reidy (44)

Referee: Jim Hickey (Cratloe)

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