Co­rofin mas­ter­class tears Nemo apart

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - GAELIC GAMES - COLM KEYS

CO­ROFIN came to Croke Park for their pre­vi­ous two AIB All-Ire­land club foot­ball fi­nals and won in some style but they could never have vi­su­alised a per­for­mance like this against the most sto­ried club of them all to de­liver a third ti­tle.

At times on a bit­terly cold Croke Park day, they played text­book foot­ball, switch­ing the play in mes­meris­ing fash­ion to cre­ate open­ings that left Nemo Rangers, win­ners of seven ti­tles, stunned and de­flated from a very early stage.

Not since Nemo Rangers them­selves ham­mered Mayo’s Gar­ry­more in the 1982 fi­nal has there been a mar­gin of vic­tory like it; re­cent mar­ket lead­ers such as Cross­ma­glen Rangers and St Vin­cent’s have not even got up to the lev­els that Co­rofin found, es­pe­cially in the first half when they faced into a strong wind.

A four to five-point in­ter­val deficit in the con­di­tions would have been a de­cent launch­pad for any sec­ond-half surge but Co­rofin quickly ditched that the­ory with their sub­lime move­ment and ap­proach work off ev­ery at­tack leav­ing the con­querors of both last year’s fi­nal­ists, Dr Crokes and Slaugh­t­neil, chas­ing shad­ows.

Hav­ing shown sub­stance to beat Moore­field with 14 men the last day, this was all about style on the big­gest stage of all.

With Daithí Burke re­stored to the team they dom­i­nated mid­field as Michael Far­ragher dropped in as an ex­tra mid­fielder and dic­tated mat­ters with his field­ing and long-range pass­ing.

They knocked the ball about for fun in those open­ing ex­changes, with Gary Sice al­ways promi­nent, first pop­ping a point and then driv­ing low from about 20 me­tres past Nemo goal­keeper Micheal Aodh Martin for a four-point lead af­ter just seven min­utes.

Just about ev­ery­thing they touched turned to gold. Dy­lan Wall picked up Paul Ker­ri­gan and re­stricted him to just a point while scor­ing two him­self.

Ian Burke was the last Co­rofin start­ing for­ward to reg­is­ter a score but his fin­ger­prints were on all their most pro­duc­tive moves, with his soft hands and deft pass­ing a real prob­lem for Nemo.

He was piv­otal in the build-up to the Gal­way cham­pi­ons’ sec­ond goal on 21 min­utes at a stage when Co­rofin were al­ready 1-6 to 0-1 clear.

Martin Far­ragher gave the fi­nal de­liv­ery to brother Michael and his deft fin­ish was wor­thy of the se­quence of passes that had cre­ated the open­ing in the first place. With the lead out to 11 and wind ad­van­tage in the sec­ond half to come, the game was ef­fec­tively over as Nemo heads hung.

For Martin Far­ragher it was per­sonal tri­umph. Wrongly sent off in the first minute of that semi-fi­nal against Moore­field in Fe­bru­ary, he had the red card re­scinded to clear him to play and de­liv­ered with six points from play and so many as­sists from full-for­ward.

“I just can’t thank the lads for giv­ing me the chance to come and play here,” he said af­ter­wards.

By the break, Co­rofin were 2-9 to 0-5 clear, Luke Con­nolly of­fer­ing the best re­sis­tance, though Liam Silke’s de­ploy­ment on him was still a suc­cess for Co­rofin.

They briefly lifted their foot from the pedal early in the sec­ond half but respite for Nemo was short-lived. Tomás Ó Sé’s tour de force in the semi-fi­nal win over Slaugh­t­neil couldn’t be re­peated and by the 38th minute the Kerry vet­eran, who had played for An Ghaeltacht in the 2004 fi­nal, was one of three play­ers Nemo had re­placed.

Co­rofin re­sumed their spell­bind­ing play and Martin Far­ragher’s 46th-minute point re­flected ev­ery­thing about them with Wall, Ian Burke and Michael Far­ragher all in­ter­act­ing su­perbly to set him up for a 2-14 to 0-7 lead.

“It’s very sat­is­fy­ing. This group of play­ers have de­liv­ered so much over the last few years, we asked them com­ing to Croke Park could they de­liver a per­for­mance. I think they did that in style,” said Co­rofin man­ager Kevin O’Brien.

“We have come here three times now and all credit to the club we have won each time play­ing su­per foot­ball,” said O’Brien of the pre­vi­ous wins against Erin’s Isle in 1998 and Slaugh­t­neill three years ago which they won by five and 10 points re­spec­tively.

“Mov­ing the ball at pace and show­ing what we are about, it’s some­thing we try and do all the time so to do it on the great­est stage is fan­tas­tic.”

Scor­ers — Co­rofin: G Sice 1-4 (0-2fs), Martin Far­ragher 0-6, Michael Far­ragher 1-1, I Burke, D Burke, D Wall 0-2 each, M Lundy, J Leonard all 0-1 each. Nemo Rangers:

L Con­nolly 0-6 (4fs), P Gum­ley, C O’Shea, J Dono­van, P Ker­ri­gan all 0-1 each.

Co­rofin: B Power; C Silke, L Silke, K Fitzger­ald; C McGrath, D Wall, K Mol­loy; D Burke, R Steede; M Lundy, G Sice, J Leonard; I Burke, Martin Far­ragher, Michael Far­ragher. Subs: C Cun­ning­ham for Mol­loy (48), C Brady for Lundy (48), B O’Dono­van for Leonard (55), D McHugh for C Silke (55), C Brady for D Burke (59), D Can­ney for Martin Far­ragher (61).

Nemo Rangers: M A Martin; K O’Dono­van, A O’Reilly, A Cronin; T Ó Sé, S Cronin, K Fulig­nati; A O’Dono­van, J Hor­gan; B O’Driscoll, P Ker­ri­gan, C O’Brien; P Gum­ley, L Con­nolly, C Dal­ton. Subs: J Dono­van for Ó Sé (38), M Dor­gan for Hor­gan (38), C Hor­gan for Gum­ley (38), C Kiely for Dal­ton (48), C O’Shea for Fulig­nati (52).

Ref­eree: D Gough (Meath)

Co­rofin’s Kieran Mol­loy and Nemo’s Kevin O’Dono­van in ac­tion yes­ter­day

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