Corofin 1-14 Clooney-Qion 2-10
AS far as most hurling followers were concerned, there was nothing at stake in the tie at Clarecastle on Saturday but Corofin had other ideas. They knew that a victory for them and defeat for Smith O’Brien’s against Kilmaley would give the Corofin men a chance of getting away from the relegation battle.
Their determination to achieve victory was evident half an hour before the game as they were out on the pitch for their warm-up and while Clooney-Quin players were doing likewise, the same urgency wasn’t evident.
Without a point in the campaign to date, Corofin were rank outsiders for the match and their victory is all the more praiseworthy, given that they were eight points down after just eight minutes play and given the fact that they played 40 minutes with just 14 players. Furthermore, they went into this game without regulars, goalkeeper John Williams and Damian Ryan, both of whom were out of the country.
In addition, they were dealt what appeared to be a huge blow in the final minute when, somewhat against the run of play, Clooney-Quin struck for their second goal, which put them a point ahead. However, Corofin simply refused to accept defeat and Darragh Shannon fired over the winning point from midfield in the second minute of added time.
The sending-off of Martin Tierney after 20 minutes was one of a couple of controversial decisions in the tie. Clooney-Quin officials were fuming when, five minutes into injury time, Derek Ryan was sent off following a clash with Gerry Quinn.
Eight minutes into the tie, few would have given the winners any chance. They were 1-5 to 0-0 behind and struggling to get a grip on the game. Three points from John Earls, a goal from Fergal Lynch and two pointed frees by Derek Ryan made up the Clooney-Quin tally in the early minutes.
With Gerry Quinn dominant at centre-back, Corofin crawled back into contention and when the half-time whistle sounded, it was 1-6 to 0-5 and Corofin would have the assistance of the wind for the second period. In fairness to Clooney-Quin, the loss through injury, of the experienced Conor Harrison was a big blow and they were clearly unsettled following his departure.
The decision to switch Darragh Clancy to wing-back proved to be a superb move by Corofin and he went on to give a powerful second-half performance. He pointed inside the first minute of the second half and Darragh Shannon quickly followed with another but they were still a goal behind at the three-quarter stage.
They were dominating the play, however, and two minutes into the final quarter they drew level when Kevin Heagney found the net. A minute later they were in front for the first time thanks to a Gerry Quinn point and further points from Clancy and Donnacda Kelleher had them three clear with eight minutes to go.
Clooney-Quin brought it back to one before Quinn converted a long-range free to put his side two clear with two minutes to play. With just seconds of normal time remaining, Mike Daffy got his hurley to a cross from John Earls and directed the ball to the net and it looked as if Corofin would again go away without the points but they simply would not give in. Kevin Heagney levelled, before Shannon hit what proved to be the winner. A further five minutes of play failed to yield any further scores and the final whistle sparked off great Corofin celebrations.
Corofin: David Quinn; Shane Neylon, Luke O’Loughlin, Paudie Barry; Martin Tierney, Gerry Quinn, Darragh Shannon; Darragh Clancy, Neil Killeen; Declan Lee, Donnacda Kelleher, Ollie O’Loughlin; Kevin Heagney, John Shannon, Eamonn Dunne.
Sub: Kieran Carkill for O O’Loughlin (40 minutes).
Scorers: Kevin Heagney (1-2), Gerry Quinn (0-3, 0-2f), Darragh Clancy (0-3), Darragh Shannon, Donnacda Kelleher (0-2 each), Eamonn Dunne and Declan Lee (0-1 each).
Frees for: 13 Wides: 11
Bookings: Darragh Shannon (3 minutes) and Paudie Barry (49 minutes).
Sent off: Martin Tierney (20 minutes).
“We are delighted and the players definitely deserved this result. We have been just narrowly beaten in each of the games. These lads have worked hard and deserve this.” John Malone, Corofin.
Clooney-Quin: Cathal Hannon; Shane McNamara, Conor Harrison, Paul Clune; Adrian Fleming, Cillian Duggan, Enda Harrison; Mike McNamara, Seán Conheady; John Earls, Cathal Egan, Michael Daffy; Paudie Ward, Fergal Lynch, Derek Ryan.
Sub: Seamus Conroy for C Harrison (inj, 12 minutes).
Scorers: Derek Ryan (0-5, all frees), John Earls (0-3), Fergal Lynch, Michael Daffy (1-0 each), Cathal Egan and Paudie Ward (0-1 each).
Frees for: 13 Wides: 8
Bookings: John Earls (16 minutes).
Sent off: Derek Ryan (65 minutes).
“Conor Harrison picked up a serious back injury after 10 minutes and that appeared to upset the whole rhythm of our game. Our lads were more concerned about Conor than what was happening on the field and Corofin crept back into it. We didn’t recover.” Pat O’Rourke, manager.
Referee: Ger Lyons, Ruan.