Corofin 2-14 Doonbeg 1-6
In bridging a 14-year gap to their last success in this competition, Corofin moved to joint top in the U-21B Football Championship roll of honour last Saturday. They now share the lead, with five wins each, with their North Clare neighbours, Kilfenora.
The winners, who will be hoping to add the minor B title to their list of winnings on this Saturday, were always in control of this final played at Hennessy Park in Miltown.
From an early stage in this campaign, Corofin were installed as favourites for the title and on Saturday, they led from the outset. They were five points clear at half-time when the score was 0-6 to 0-1 and they held this advantage to the end.
To their credit, Doonbeg never gave up and battled right to the final whistle but Corofin were the better-balanced side on the day.
Corner-forward Gearóid Kelly emerged as the game’s top scorer with 2-4, both goals and a point coming from play. The first goal came 10 minutes into the second half and it helped his side to 1-10 to 1-6 lead early in the final quarter before he struck for their second major.
In all, eight players shared in the scoring for the winners, an indication of the team’s balance.
The foundations for the win were laid in defence where Corofin excelled throughout. This is reflected in the fact that only three Doonbeg players managed to get on the scoresheet with centre-forward Jamie Russell being their top scorer, with 1-3 to his credit.
The winners also controlled the midfield exchanges, where Jamie Malone and Luke O’Loughlin dominated, which ensured that their forward line got a plentiful supply of ball. Four of the starting six up front scored with Kelly causing all sorts of problems for the Magpies.
After the game, Clare GAA chairman Michael O’Neill presented the cup to the winning captain Luke O’Loughlin who is one of a number of the team that will be in hurling action this weekend when they replay the intermediate championship semi-final with their neighbours, Ruan.
Corofin: William Neylon; Brian McGahern; Eoin Malone, Keith O’Loughlin; Manus Malone, Eamonn Malone, Kieran O’Leary; Jamie Malone (0-2), Luke O’Loughlin (0-1, captain); Colm Turner, Kevin Heagney (0-1 each), Stephen Heagney (0-2); Gearóid Kelly (2-4), Damian Hogan, Niall Arthur (0-1).;
Subs: Donnacda Egan for McGahern; Luke Conroy for K O’Loughlin; Fionn Clancy for Turner; Darren Malone for Hogan; Ian Corbett for O’Leary.
Doonbeg: Raymond McAuley; Liam Hanrahan, Eoin Conway, Kevin Healy; Nathan Capon, Joe Blake (captain), Cian Clancy; Paudie Nugent, Paul Dillon (0-2), Cian O’Mahoney (0-1), Jamie Russell (1-3), Diarmuid Ryan; Cathal O’Keeffe, Kevin Pender, Paudie Cussen.
Subs: Patrick Pender for Cussen; Kieran Walshe for K Pender.
Referee: John Hannon, Michael Cusacks.