Corofin (Galway) 2-13
Castlebar Mitchels (Mayo) 1-12
Corofin showed their mettle once again by coming through another extra-time thriller at Tuam Stadium to retain their Connacht club SFC title.
The Galway kingpins needed extra-time to get past St. Brigid's in the semi-final at the same venue two weeks ago and it was a case of deja vu as they eventually saw off a never-say-die Castlebar team to set up an All-Ireland club SFC quarter-final meeting with London champions Fulham Irish in Ruislip on Saturday week, December 9.
Corofin's strength in depth proved decisive in extra-time after they had victory snatched from their grasp in normal time when the three-in-a-row Mayo champions scored the last five points. Mitchels couldn't have asked for a better start when Neil Douglas and Cian Costello combined to set up Aidan Walsh for a palmed goal after only three minutes.
But the 2015 All-Ireland champions hit back with a 10th minute goal from Galway U21 Colin Brady. A second major from Micheal Lundy gave them a 2-4 to 1-3 lead at the break.
The momentum remained with the holders after the restart when they extended their advantage to 2-7 to 1-5. But Castlebar refused to accept defeat and reeled off five unanswered points per David Stenson (three) and Neil Douglas (two) to force extra-time, with the former grabbing a late equaliser.
But despite losing Kieran Fitzgerald, Ciaran McGrath and Lundy to injury, and seeing a Justin Burke penalty saved by Castlebar 'keeper Rory Byrne, Corofin regained the lead through scores from Gary Sice, Ronan Steede and Jason Leonard.
Stenson reduced the arrears at the end of the first period of extra-time, but Kevin O'Brien's charges were relentless as they kicked on in the second period with points from Sice, Barry O'Donovan and Martin Farragher.
Corofin - B Power; C McGrath, K Fitzgerald, L Silke; K Molloy, C Cunningham, D Wall; Michael Farragher, R Steede (0-1); M Lundy (1-0), G Sice (0-3, 2f), J Leonard (0-5, 3f); I Burke, Martin Farragher (0-2), Colin Brady (1-1). Subs: D Burke for C Brady, J Burke for Martin Farragher, D McHugh for K Molloy, B O'Donovan (0-1) for M Lundy, Ciaran Brady for D Wall, K Murphy for C McGrath, K Molloy for C Cunningham, Martin Farragher for J Burke.
Castlebar Mitchels - R Byrne; D Newcombe, G McDonagh, R O'Malley; J Maughan, E O'Reilly (0-1), P Durcan; A Walsh (1-0), B Moran; S Hopkins, D Kirby, C Costello; J Durcan, N Douglas (0-5, 2f), D Stenson (0-6, 4f). Subs: S Irwin for J Maughan, N McCarney for S Hopkins, M Towey for A Walsh, M McCormack for N McCarney (BC).
Referee - M Duffy.Tweet