All-Ireland Club SFC final: Corofin win one-sided decider

March 17, 2015

Slaughtneil's Christopher McKaigue dives to block Michael Lundy of Corofin

Corofin captured their second All-Ireland senior club football championship with a facile 1-14 to 0-7 victory over Slaughtneil at Croke Park.

The north Galway outfit became the first-ever Connacht club to claim the Andy Merrigan Cup back in 1998 and today the red-hot favourites added to that famous win with a straightforward victory over their out-of-sorts opponents.

On a day  of one-sided encounters at Croker, Stephen Rochford's charges bossed the first half to all but seal the title by the short whistle, heading into the interval with an insurmountable 1-8 to 0-3 advantage.

Captain Martin Farragher grabbed the all-important goal in the 17th minute, finishing to the net after taking a pass from county man Gary Sice. Farragher and Sice then followed up with points as the westerners stormed into a 1-6 to 0-2 lead after 23 minutes, having registered 1-5 without reply.

Incredibly, Slaughtneil's bionic man Christopher Bradley was passed fit to play just a month after suffering a broken collarbone in the semi-final victory over Austin Stacks and he took his place at centre forward on the Derry champions' XV.

And, true to form, it was 'Sammy' who opened the scoring with a nicely-judged free between the Hill 16 posts. The underdogs had an early penalty appeal waved away by referee David Coldrick when Paul Bradley was tackled by Corofin wing back Greg Higgins as he bore down on goal.

Sice opened the Connacht kingpins' account before centre back Chrissy McKaigue momentarily restored Slaughtneil's advantage with an inspirational point in the eighth minute. A trio of Micheal Lundy points from play started the Corofin scoring spree before Farragher's major left the Ulster men with a mountain to climb.

Gerald Bradley slotted Slaughtneil's first score in 16 minutes but Gary Delaney and Liam Silke ('45') added to the winners' tally before Farragher was denied a second major by goalkeeper Antoin McMullan in injury time at the end of the first half.

The losers grabbed the first score after the restart from a Padraig Kelly free but Sice's free into The Hill restored the eight-point gap with five minutes played in the second half.

Ronan Steede fired the next Corofin point after collecting a clever, short Sice free; Gerald Bradley replied but the Derry champions were clearly struggling.

Ian Burke made it a nine-point game before Slaughtneil manager Mickey Moran made a triple substitution in the 43rd minute in what was one final throw of the dice: Paul McNeill, Se McGuigan and Padraig Cassidy replacing Conan Cassidy, Padraig Kelly and Ronan Bradley.

Still, the underdogs couldn't work a goal chance and instead they had to settle for a consolation point from Gerald Bradley - his third arriving on 48 minutes. Five minutes later, a Paul Bradley free pared the deficit down to eight, 1-12 to 0-7.

Sice drew and converted a free for his team's thirteenth point and many of the 29,752 who paid through the turnstiles at HQ today had left long before the final five minutes of this one-sided decider were played out. Substitute Joe Canney added the icing on the cake in the 59th minute as the Galway representatives won with ten points to spare.

When Cormac O'Doherty blasted an injury-time penalty wide, it summed up Slaughtneil's day.

Corofin - T Healy; C McGrath, K Fitzgerald, C Silke; G Higgins, A Burke, L Silke (0-1f); D Burke, R Steede (0-1); G Sice (0-5, 4f), Michael Farragher (0-1), G Delaney (0-1); Martin Farragher (1-0), M Lundy (0-3), I Burke (0-1). Subs: D Wall for Martin Farragher, J Burke for R Steede, M Comer for C Silke, C Cunningham for G Higgins, J Canney (0-1) for I Burke, K Murphy for G Delaney.

Slaughtneil - A McMullan; Francis McEldowney, B Rogers, K McKaigue; C Cassidy, C McKaigue (0-1), B McGuigan; Patsy Bradley, P McGuigan; P Kelly (0-1f), C Bradley (0-1f), R Bradley; G Bradley (0-3), Paul Bradley (0-1f), C Doherty. Subs: S McGuigan for R Bradley, P Cassidy for P Kelly, P McNeill for C Cassidy, Fergal McEldowney for C Bradley, S Kelly for P McGuigan, P Kearney for B McGuigan.

Referee - D Coldrick.

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