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Sunday 19 August 2018

Corofin's class and experience to tip balance

All-Irl club SFC semi-final: Moorefield v Corofin (Tullamore, Today, 2.30, TG4)

Michéal Lundy
Michéal Lundy

Mostly, there are two types of teams that compete in All-Ireland club semi-finals.

There's the local giant, who tend also to be serial provincial winners and occasionally, All-Ireland champions - a category into which Corofin fit snuggly.

And then there's the once-in-a-blue-moon contenders. Or Moorefield, as they'll identify themselves in Tullamore today.

Prior to their amazing Leinster final victory over Westmeath's St Lomans', a match they appeared to have botched before salvaging in the most incredible fashion, their manager Ross Glavin, noted how their at-times claustrophobic rivalry with Sarsfields, the club with whom they share the town of Newbridge, had caused many within Moorefield to adjudge success primarily at a local level.

"We said as a group that they wanted to get to a Leinster final and achieve more outside of Kildare," he stressed.

"There are people in around Moorefield who are sometimes satisfied with being the best team in Newbridge or being county champions. The players were the ones that wanted to push on and achieve more at a provincial level."

The result was that the team qualified for just their second provincial final in their last seven attempts.

Refusing

And in accounting for Rathnew in Aughrim and refusing to accept their very obvious fate in Portlaoise that day, proved themselves worthy provincial champions.

The next step is steep, though.

Corofin have won nine of the last dozen titles in Galway, a championship that doesn't struggle for competition.

They've claimed five Connacht titles in that stretch, too, including three of the last four, and went all the way to St Patrick's Day and an All-Ireland crown as recently as 2015.

They have a smattering of county players, including Liam Silke, who will line out for the club rather than UCD in today's Sigerson Cup final.

Ditto Kieran Molloy, who was part of NUIG's squad up until today, while Kieran Fitzgerald is still a hugely influential defender and ball-carrier at this level.

Up front, they have the energy of Michéal Lundy and Gary Sice and the scoring capabilities of Ian Burke and Jason Leonard, an entirely more prolific prospect that anything Moorefield have encountered on their run so far.

Coming back from positions of peril has been a Moorefield trait of late.

They trailed Confey in their Kildare opener by five points with as many minutes remaining while early red cards for Daryl Flynn and David Whyte didn't deny them a county title in the final against Celbridge.

The fear here is that Corofin are too organised, too experienced to allow Moorefield generate the sort of momentum required to come back should they fall behind in any significant way.

That for all the scoring power of Éanna O'Connor and Niall Hurley-Lynch and the strong running of James Murray, Flynn and Whyte, Corofin use the ball quicker and better and won't allow Moorefield a period of scoring dominance.

Kildare football is in need og a boost but Moorefield are likely to find the stet-up a little too steep today.

Odds: Corofin 3/10, Draw 17/2, Moorefield 16/5

Verdict: Corofin

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