Michael Corry reporting live from Croke Park
Corofin are the first side in Gaelic football to complete a three-in-a-row of All-Ireland club titles after killing off Kilcoo after extra-time in Croke Park.
Kilcoo led by one at the break following a tight first half that saw Corofin kept scoreless for almost 25 minutes.
In what was a low-scoring affair overall, Kilcoo pushed the champions to the pin of their collars throughout and could have won it, forcing extra-time with a 70th-minute free-kick. However, it is the Galway men who celebrate a third successive title after kicking on in extra-time.
Here are the major talking points following today’s Croke Park clash.
A low scoring affair
Five points in the first half says it all really. Only one forward scored in the opening half and that was Paul Devlin, two of his three points coming from free-kicks.
Corofin off the pace
It took Corofin almost 25 minutes to score. Remember, it only took 33 seconds for them to rattle the net in the semi-final. It’s also worth remembering that the narrative that follows this great team is that they come alive in Croke Park.
All credit must go to Kilcoo who were happy enough to flood the defence and wait for their opportunity to hit the champions on the counter-attack.
Kilcoo running game a sight to behold
The Down men, as mentioned, were happy to flood the defence and make Corofin work for their scores. When Kilcoo got the ball, their running game brought them to life.
The noise levels increased massively upon regaining possession as it felt as though they were going to make something happen each time.
They turned over Corofin ten times in the opening half, something not often done to this great team.
Ronan Steede the stallion footballer
Without doubt, Corofin’s star player was Ronan Steede. He was brilliant in possession and kicked two booming points either side of half-time to get Corofin’s engine motoring.
He then hit a third audacious point in extra-time. A score that would prove crucial come the end.
A good shout for AIB Club Footballer of the Year 2020.
Kilcoo looked shapeless at times
The Down men tried gallantly but their lack of shape up top seemed to cost them big time as they regularly ran out of options upon crossing into the Corofin half.
Contrast this with the champions who seemed to have a player in position at all times. It might be a corner-back in the wing-forward position but the option is still there.
However, Kilcoo hung in there and were always in the game.
Kilcoo’s late rally
The Down men looked out. It seemed as though Corofin were going to ease through the final quarter of the game but back-to-back scores from play through Conor Laverty and Darryl Branagan set-up a nervy, tense finish.
Despite getting to within one point of the champions, they hit a couple of late wides as the game looked to be slipping away from them. Then up stepped Paul Devlin to kick his fifth point of the day in the 70th minute to force extra-time.
Corofin kick on in extra-time
The game finished 0-7 apiece after normal time. By the end of the first period of extra-time, Corofin led by double scores thanks to 1-4 without response.
Kevin O’Brien’s men showed their class in extra-time to kick on and see out the game, sealing a historic win in the process. The best football side to grace the club championships? Possibly so.
Bernard Power; Cathal Silke, Kieran Fitzgerald, Liam Silke; Kieran Molloy, Colin Brady, Dylan Wall; Daithí Burke, Ronan Steede; Gary Sice, Mike Farragher, Jason Leonard; Ian Burke, Martin Farragher, Micheál Lundy (c).
Martin McCourt; Niall Branagan, Ryan McEvoy, Niall McEvoy; Eugene Branagan, Aaron Branagan, Darryl Branagan; Aaron Morgan, Aidan Branagan (jc); Dylan Ward, Paul Devlin, Ryan Johnston; Shealan Johnston, Jerome Johnston; Conor Laverty (jc).
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