Dylan Canney scoring for Corofin against Oughterard on Sunday. INPHO/TOMMY DICKSON
By P.J. Cunningham
Corofin 7-17; Oughterard 0-11
By the time they step off the stage, All Ireland football kingpins Corofin may be seen as the best club team of all time.
In the interim, they just keep accelerating from good to great in their stride, suggesting there is a lot left in their tank before they call it a day.
Winning by 27 points in any championship game is a serious declaration of intent but to do so in the highly competitive Galway football championship is quite remarkable.
Pity poor Oughterard, who are a very decent club team, and who might have felt a little aggrieved to go in at half-time trailing by 2-8 to 0-7 after succumbing to two magical moments of Corofin swift interplay which yielded goals for Dylan Wall in the fifth minutes and Mike Farragher with a green flag on the cusp of the break.
With Kieran Molloy receiving an early black card, it was Oughterard who gained the upperhand and but for a few vital misses could have been much closer to the champions than seven behind at the break.
Then something magical happened, that is if you are a Corofin supporter. The team didn’t just take off, they began to play to a standard seldom seen at club level as they surgically routed the opposition with five clinical strikes per Wall, Matthew Cooley, Michael Lundy and Darragh Silke (2) before heading off into the sunset 7-17 to 0-11 to the good.
While the champions know there are still strong teams within the county boundaries, their victory and the manner of their dissection of Oughterard will echo all around the country. Don’t bet against them completing a first ever four in a row of All Ireland football club titles at this level. Currently both Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh) and Corofin are joint top by winning three-in-a-row.
2006 All-Ireland champions Salthill/Knocknacarra were also big winners, as they beat St Michael's by 3-13 to 0-10 in the later game at Pearse Stadium.
A scoring burst before half-time saw the city side take a six point lead into the break, and goals from Rob Walzer and John Maher put the game to bed thereafter.
The other clash in the west was much closer, as Mountbellew-Moylough emerged two point winners over Annaghdown, by 1-7 to 0-08.
Newtownshandrum comeback in style
Speaking of remarkable game, Cork had the mother of all comeback as Newtownshandrum turned an eight-point deficit with as many minutes remaining, to end up winning by three points.
The Cork senior hurling series always produces top-notch matches but seldom has one held the attention to the end like this one. The winners finished like a train to hit over 11 unanswered points against a Bishoptown side that simply had no answer.
It could be that after turning with only a three point advantage against the wind, the loser put all their efforts into the third quarter to push into a 1-15 to 0-10 lead, with Mark Driscoll responsible for the opportunist only goal of the game.
Had there been a crowd present, many would have considered the green flag moment a suitable time for an early exit. But they would have lost out on a truly unbelievable turnaround in the teams’ fortunes.
Paul O’Sullivan began the slow process of reeling in their opponents with a point, his side’s second of that moiety. Then it looked like every shot taken by the Newtown boys was destined for the black spot as
Dermot McCarthy came onto account for three while another sub Jack Twomey, and Jamie Coughlan (two frees) among them had the game down to a minimum with a minute left.
Then yet another replacement, Jerry O’Mahony, got in on the act to equalize before Tim O’Mahony finally shook off the shackles of close marking to hit the lead score way into added time. Coughlan added another points to leave his side almost disbelieving at the long whistle that they had carried off one of the great comebacks.