Corofin crack Castlebar in extra-time

Photo: RTÉ

Club titles are rarely won easily. Proof of that came at Tuam Stadium this afternoon where Galway’s Corofin eventually got the better of Mayo champions Castlebar Mitchels in the Connacht senior club football final but only after these two provincial heavyweights ended deadlocked at the end of normal time.

Corofin should, in truth, have put this contest to bed without any need for extra-time. Castlebar got the dream start via a goal after just three minutes but two goals at the other end put Corofin into the driving seat at half-time, when they led by four points.

The Galway lads remained to the fore for most of the second half as well, their superior movement and greater fluidity in attack marking them out as the more likely outfit to prevail. But a number of good chances to tack on further scores – at a time when they led by five – were spurned and they were left to rue this profligacy as Mitchels came with a late burst.

Five points without reply in the last ten minutes, the final one a free deep in stoppage time from David Stenson, brought Castlebar level at the end of normal time. With Corofin now shorn of the services of Kieran Fitzgerald, Ciaran McGrath and Michael Lundy, who were all withdrawn from the fray with injuries in normal time, the momentum in the contest seemed to have swung in Mitchels’ favour.

But it was the Galway lads who upped the ante once again in extra-time, three points in the first three minutes putting them back in control of proceedings. They had a chance to wrap things up soon after when Gary Sice was tripped in the square by Eoghan O’Reilly – after a run, mind you, that involved at least nine steps before the foul – but Rory Byrne brilliantly batted away Justin Burke’s spot-kick.

Despite that miss, Corofin never looked in danger of letting the win slip from their grasp for a second time. The football wasn’t overly pretty but Corofin closed it out effectively and won in the end by 2-13 to 1-12.

The win sees Corofin claim top spot in the provincial roll of honour, with eight Connacht titles now to their credit. Roscommon’s Clann na nGael won their seventh provincial crown in 1989, two years before Corofin made the breakthrough in Connacht for the first time but they’ve racked up an impressive record west of the Shannon since then.

Today’s win is Corofin’s third Connacht title in the last four years. With an All-Ireland quarter-final against Fulham Irish to come, followed by a semi-final against either St Loman’s of Westmeath or Kildare’s Moorefield, they’ll now surely be eyeing a right tilt at national honours next spring.

For Castlebar, it’s the end of the road but they can’t really have any complaints about how today’s final panned out. They gave it their all and it just wasn’t enough on the day. Hard luck to them.

30 thoughts on “Corofin crack Castlebar in extra-time

  1. Considering the conditions in Tuam today this was an excellent game, well done to both teams. Corofin just have the extra fluidity in attack. My own opinion is i think Barry Moran has had his day at county level , he looked heavy legged today but still has been a great servant to Castlebar and Mayo.

  2. Hard luck to Mitchels, no doubt the better team won. I felt Paddy, Barry and Danny Kirby had too little influence for castlebar to win. In reality this is better for the county team. We won’t have any club tied players for the league next year while Galway will be missing the Corofin lads when we play them in February.

  3. Hard luck Castlebar. A good effort best team probably won it. Agree wide ball about forwards Butvfor some wayward shooting in last minutes of regular time could have won it. But greay effort over years from mitchells

  4. Hard luck Castlebar was really hoping they’d win It especially after the discgraceful treatment they recieved from those two muppets who wouldn’t open the gates to let them on the field. The silver lining is tho Stephen Rochford will have the Castlebar lads onboard right from the start of the season I know that’s no consolation to Castlebar’s fantastic team and supporters but they can hold their heads up high.

  5. Paddy Durcan needs a rest and Mayo needs Paddy rested especially now with Lee out for a few months.

  6. Backdoorsam just wondering why you chose to call a member of Tuam stars a muppet? You do know Tuam Stars and indeed Corofin have nothing to do with the running of the Stadium , we have our own grounds elsewhere in the town, in fact the stewards in the stadium are spread from clubs around Galway and Connacht council are in charge of running everything today.. Just keeping you updated..

  7. Thanks for that clarification, Tuamstar. I’ve removed the club references from Backdoorsam’s comment. I’ve left the muppets reference in though – from the sounds of it, what went on at the ground today was just farcical.

  8. Corofin would have being kicking themselves for letting that game go to extra time especially when they were totally in control!
    They moved the ball very well there forwards made great runs time and time again and Liam silke and there number 7 were outstanding!
    As for castlebar there big players were nullified Durcan Moran Kirby.stenson had a good game Douglas to at times but when your half forward line doesn’t score you will struggle.
    Castlebar defence struggled to with the Corofin forwards running game.
    I still think Slaughtneill will take beating this year.

  9. Apologies Tuamstar and willie Joe, I assumed that with the game being in Tuam it would be Tuam stars clubmen and stewards on the gates? I’m happy to be corrected to and apologise for any offence caused but I standby my comment tho two men that refused the team entry via the gates are muppets and it’s not very sporting behaviour and no need for that sort of gamesmanship the Dubs don’t even do that to us in Croke Park

  10. Just as a matter of interest did the man that replaced Kieran Fitzgerald remain as a blood sub the the remainder of the game .

  11. Corofin deservedly won and its the 2nd year in a row they beat Castlebar in extra time too. With Mayo losing their last two senior championship games to Galway and Galway U21s,minors beating Mayo pulling up this year no doubt about it losing to Galway teams has become a bad habit maybe that will change in 2018?

  12. No hassle Willie and Sam. I myself couldnt believe the shxxe going on and saw the guys at the gate but i can assure you they are not Tuam men. Anyways agre with thd other poster Slaughneil still favourites.

  13. Considering the conditions, l thought the quality was pretty good. Corofin were very slick with short inter passing game. The accurate foot passing at times was a joy to watch. Castlebar played well in patches – Dougie showed well. But, in truth the county men didn’t perform to potential. Nemo looked impressive in dispatching Crokes, with several big hitters, where it matters – up front. Can’t see anything other than a Nemo/Corofin final. And always difficult to beat a confident and organised Cork team – but you never know..

  14. Corofin gave Slaughtneil a bit of a hiding three years ago so should be plenty of spice if they meet in the final. Corofin are probably not as imperious as then and Slaughtneil have improved a lot so should be a cracker (I can’t see either losing before then)

    Fair play to Castlebar, despite being clearly the second best team they hung in there well. Corofin just have a better all round team and a strong 21 players to call on, they’re a fine team

    Decent year for Galway football overall, it must be said.

  15. Very defensive football by Castlebar yesterday. Made it difficult for Corofin but the better team won out and really should have won this game by 3/4 in normal time.

  16. Can’t agree with ya Ciaran. Nothing decent about being hammered by the Rossies in your own back yard. A win against a poor Donegal team, then not within a donkeys roar of Kerry. We’re notorious slow starters (which needs to change), allied with Keiths moment of madness, Shot ourselves in the foot.

    Corofin are a great team, and best of luck to them from here on, hope they win it.

  17. Well done Corofin – a very good team indeed. Had to watch it on telly after domestic engagements kept me in Dublin.

    Pitch looked awfully heavy and I felt Mitchels struggled with it. They played much better in the County final and struggled to get any kind of fluid movement yesterday. That cuts both ways of course and Corofin might also have played much better on a faster surface. And of course they can feel very satisfied with the marking jobs on Moran, Durcan, Kirby and Newcombe.

    Still, I felt James Durcan showed well – Rochy you really need to look at this guy in the FBD and beyond. That pace can’t be ignored and he’s showing other aspects as well, he fielded a great ball in the second half. And yes, agree with others the upside is a rest for the county players.

  18. @ tuamstar bit of a disgraceful comment. We’re always quick to criticise or kick men when theyre down in this County. If you were at the game you’d have seen he took a few heavy knocks early on and looked to be limping and in my opinion should have been moved inside (but who’d have won kickouts then?) but never gave up and won a good few marks from midfield and I thought was one of their best performers and his decision making was the best of them all on the ball. Hes not the reason cbar lost. Some of the kickouts from cbar were just awful. Was mitchels most consistent players all year.

    Corofin were by far the better team. Too many of the mitchels just didn’t turn up Eg the 2 durcans, the inside line (haven’t been contributing enough from play) and kirby in particular. Some very poor shot selections too. I still think mitchels keeper is a poor decision maker and when the pressure was on all year his kickouts were terrible…and he did the same yday. Anyway the players deserve the rest. Winter football is hard on the body. With the new county fixtures it hopefully will be more advantageous to clubs

  19. I really cant agree with the notion that a castlebar loss is good for Mayo County football, I dont see any benifit in our county champions being beaten. It may have a little merit if Castlebar had several starting county players but in reality its only Durcan that will get a rest (Moran & Kirby played very little county football this year) and im sure he would rather be playing all the way to 17th March. Whats good for Mayo football is having as many teams as possible at all levels playing at the business end of competitions. Mayo need club teams doing well at national level, eg Westport last year. Whats not good for Mayo football is being beaten again by a team from Galway, its beginning to be a regular occurrence.

  20. Big guns didn’t fire for Castlebar and I was particularly disappointed with Kirby. He made little impact for a fella who’s pushing for a county place. Paddy Durcan looked tired and the brother James tried hard but looks like a lad who would relish better ground.

    Corofin were the better team but the game swung on the Lundy goal with the Castlebar defense caught napping – if they had prevented that who knows what the outcome would have been ?

    Disappointed for Castlebar but from a mayo perspective probably best that these guys get a rest and are available for the League.

  21. Great article with Barry Moran in yesterday’s Sunday world! That guy has done seriously well to be playing football at all this year and he feared his career was over!
    It easy to be critical but people don’t realise what players do to get onto the pitch in the ist place.

  22. Alan Dillon was a great servant for Mayo,a mighty man,
    i wish him all the best with his retirement .

  23. .MayoDunphy indeed but I’m talking more overall. They won the D2 league, hardly awash with juggernauts, but still all you can do is win it. Minors won a Connacht title handsomely, as did the under 21s. Under 21s also beat a highly fancied Kerry in the semi-final

    Beating Donegal so handsomely was still a big statement and of course the result against ourselves. Both were negated with two terrible showings and while they’re far from a terrifying force at Senior level they have plenty underage talent coming through, and arguably the best club team in Ireland. Maybe their hurling counterparts might inspire them to hit greater heights in the near future

  24. Thanks for the years of service Alan, you were there through thick and thin and always gave your all for the jersey.
    The goal in the 2004 final was one that will live long in the memory. Little did we think you’d still be doing your best for the green and red 13 years later! Get your feet up and enjoy Christmas with plenty of extra deserts

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