Corofin extra special
All-Ireland Club Final Kilcoo 0-7 Corofin 1-12 (extra time)
History making three-in -a-row Aib All-Ireland Club Champions Corofin were special in extra-time as they saw off the gallant challenge of Kilcoo at Croke Park. Mickey Moran and the Magpies were forced to play with 14 men after 35 minutes after they lost the services of Dylan Ward to a second yellow card but their never say die attitude on display all through this great championship run was once again rewarded in a pulsating finish as Paul Devlin pointed a free deep into stoppage time to take the final to extra-time.
Great credit to Devlin who had missed an easier free to equalise a few minutes earlier indeed Kilcoo had shot a trio of wides prior to the late leveller ass they had the champions under all sorts of pressure. Had Kilcoo been more prolific in front of the posts especially in the opening 20 minutes of the game as they dominated their much vaunted opponents but registered a handful of very scoreable wides. Over 20 minutes had elapsed before Kilcoo conceded their fortis free but after that as their experienced opponents applied the pressure Kilcoo foul count increased dramatically and in the end proved costly.
The tale of the tape was really the extra effort required to salvage the draw had sapped the energy for the Down champions and it was Corofin who found their rhythm in the opening 10 minutes of extra-time as they scored 1-4 without reply. In the second period of extra-time try as they did Kilcoo were denied on 3 sererate occasions the goal to re-ignite their challenge as their vastly experienced opponents went on to make history with an eventual 1-12 to 0-7 victory.
It will be of little consolation to Kilcoo that they provided Kevin O’Brien’s Corofin with by far their toughest All-Ireland test. Having tactically been on the front foot from the off Kilcoo had thrown Corofin right off their usual sawasbuckling kilter but failed to put the deserved scores on the board returning only 3 points from 11 first half attempts.
13 minutes had elapsed on the clock before the game’s first score arrived courtesy of centre-forward Paul Devlin via a free and three minutes later the same player doubled the lead. By the time the champions registered their first score in the 23rd minute they had their last two back-to-back All-Irelands on their way West such was the tactics employed by Kilcoo. Points from Ronan Steede and Cathal Silke had levelled the match but a classy Devlin point in first half stoppage time gave Kilcoo a 3-2 interval lead.
The game slipped away for Kilcoo in the third quarter as Corofin having levelled through Dylan Wall the champions then took full advantage of having an extra-man as they opened up a 3 point lead. Corofined 0-7 to 0-4 late in normal time but referee Conor Lane played 11 minutes of injury-time when only five had been called..After a Eugene Brannigan goal attempt had been twarted Conor Laverty got Kilcoo back on the score sheet and it was a one point game once half back Daryl Brannigan fired over a point. The tension and atmosphere was electris as play swung from end to end with Kilcoo spurning levelling chances until Devlin proved the coolest of all in the cauldron that was Croke Park to bring about extra-time.
All in attendance would have preferred to see these two teams meet another day, after all it was an All-Ireland title that was on the line and both deserved another day out. But extra-time is the new norm for the GAA as they take in more and more foreign games playing rules into Gaelic games. VAR will be next on the agenda.
Extra-time proved too much for Kilcoo but they can be mighty proud of their achievements.
Scorers for Corofin: Ronan Steede and Gary Sice (3fs) 0-3 each, Conor Cunningham 1-0, Jason Leonard 0-2 (1f), Cathal Silke, Liam Silke, Dylan Canney, and Dylan Wall 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kilcoo: Paul Devlin 0-5 (3fs), Conor Laverty and Darryl Branagan 0-1 each.
COROFIN: Bernard Power; Cathal Silke, Kieran Fitzgerald, Liam Silke; Colin Brady, Kieran Molloy, Dylan Wall; Daithi Burke, Ronan Steede; Micheal Lundy, Mike Farragher, Jason Leonard; Gary Sice, Martin Farragher, Ian Burke.
Subs: Conor Cunningham for Wall (35), Dylan McHugh for Molloy (48), Gavin Burke for Brady (58), Ciaran McGrath for C Silke (58), Darragh Silke for Martin Farragher (60+5), Dylan Canney for I Burke (60+7), Martin Farragher for Silke (60+9), Conor Newell for Lundy (74), Kieran Molloy for Martin Farragher (76), Ross Mahon for L Silke (77).
**Ian Burke returned as 15th player for extra-time
KILCOO: Martin McCourt; Aaron Branagan, Niall Branagan, Darryl Branagan; Aidan Branagan, Ryan McEvoy, Niall McEvoy; Dylan Ward, Aaron Morgan; Ryan Johnston, Paul Devlin, Eugene Branagan; Shealan Johnston, Jerome Johnston, Conor Laverty.
Subs: Justin Clarke for R Johnston (50), Anthony Morgan for A Branagan (58), Ryan Johnston for N McEvoy (71), Felim McGreevy for Aaron Morgan (71), Paul Greenan for D Branagan (77, BC).
**Aidan Brangan returned as 15th player for extra-time