Burke inspires from the bench as All-Ireland champs Corofin seal Connacht three in-a-row

Corofin 2-10

Ballintubber 1-9

Colm Gannon reports from MacHale Park, Castlebar

Corofin showed their grit to come out on top.

Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

THE INTRODUCTION OF Ian Burke from the bench proved to be vital for Corofin as they retained the Connacht senior title by four points against Ballintubber in MacHale Park on Sunday afternoon.

The Mayo champions went into this one as underdogs, but they didn’t settle for that tag early on as they dominated the middle of the park gaining a foothold that they used to build up a three-point lead by the ten minute mark.

Cillian O’Connor and Alan Dillon bisected the posts inside the opening three minutes with neat scores from distance, before Colin Brady got the defending All-Ireland champions’ first score of the day six minutes in.

Ballintubber replied in style with O’Connor kicking another from play and Jason Gibbons just scraping one over the bar to put his side into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead on the ten minute mark.

Ballintubber’s packed defence forced Corofin to play the ball over and back the field for long periods over the next ten minutes and despite dominating possession, the closest they came to landing their second point was a Kieran Molloy effort that dropped harmlessly into Brendan Walsh’s hands in the Ballintubber goal.

Martin Farragher finally put the ball over the bar for the Galway champions 21 minutes in after a storming run by Dylan Wall to put just two between them. Five minutes before the break, Corofin rattled the net thanks to a fine finish from Micheal Lundy, who collected the ball near the end-line and cut towards goal and pace to fire home and put his side into one point lead.

Kieran Molloy and Cillian O’Connor battle.

Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Corofin might have hoped that the score would kickstart them on to take control of the game, but the Mayo champions hit back with 1-1 of their own inside the next two minutes. Alan Plunkett fired over from out on the right and then Jamsie Finnerty finished expertly from close range to put Ballintubber into the 1-5 to 1-2 lead they held at the half-time break.

That lead was wiped out and Corofin were three points to the good ten minutes after the restart. Gary Sice, Jason Leonard and Mike Farragher all tagged over early points — before Corofin unleashed Ian Burke from the bench on 37 minutes.

It didn’t take Burke long to leave his mark on the game and he had the ball in the back of the net in no time. Ballintubber screwed and effort wide from close range and from the restart the All Ireland champions worked the ball quickly down the pitch. Sice fed Burke and he finished with aplomb from close range to put his team into a 2-5 to 1-5 lead.

Ballintubber cut the gap back to one over the next five minutes with Cillian O’Connor kicking two points from placed balls, but Corofin were really starting to find their momentum and a point from play from Burke and a Sice free had them three points in front again with 15 minutes to go.

Corofin kept up the pace and Kieran Molloy banged over a point on the run, before Sice kicked his third point from a free and then Liam Silke tapped one over on the run to push their lead out to six points with nine minutes left on the watch.

Ballintubber’s Michael Plunkett with Jason Leonard of Corofin.

Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Ballintubber kept plugging away and Alan Dillon and Michael Plunkett cut the gap to four points in injury time, but it wasn’t going to be enough as Corofin held on to claim their ninth provincial title.

Scorers for Corofin: Ian Burke (1-1), Michael Lundy (1-0), Gary Sice (0-3, 3f), Colin Brady (0-1), Liam Silke (0-1), Kieran Molloy (0-1), Michael Farragher (0-1), Jason Leonard (0-1), Martin Faragher (0-1)

Scorers for Ballintubber: Cillian O’Connor (0-4, 2f), Jamsie Finnerty (1-0), Alan Dillon (0-2), Alan Plunkett (0-1), Jason Gibbons (0-1), Michael Plunkett (0-1)

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Corofin

1. Bernard Power

2. Cathal Silke
3. Kieran Fitzgerald
4. Liam Silke

5. Kieran Molloy
20. Daithi Burke
7. Dylan Wall

8. Ciaran Brady
9. Ronan Steede

10. Gary Sice
11. Michael Farragher
12. Jason Leonard

13. Martin Farragher
17. Colin Brady
15. Michael Lundy.

Subs:

19. Darragh Silke for Ciaran Brady
14. Ian Burke for Darragh Silke
Dylan McHugh for Cathal Silke
21. Conor Cunningham for Dylan Wall
18. Dylan Canney for Colin Brady.

Ballintubber

1. Brendan Walsh

2. Gary Loftus
3. Cathal Hallinan
4. Brian Murphy

5. Damien Coleman
6. Michael Plunkett
7. Ruaidhri O’Connor

8. Jason Gibbons
9. Diarmuid O’Connor

10. Ciaran Gavin
11. Alan Dillon
12. Alan Plunkett

13. Brian Walsh
14. Cillian O’Connor
21. Jamsie Finnerty

Subs:

18. Myles Kelly for Ruaidhri O’Connor
20. Padraig O’Connor for Ciaran Gavin
19. Joe Geraghty for Alan Plunkett.

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