At Croke Park this Sunday, Corofin will look to retain their All-Ireland title against 2017 winners Dr Crokes. If they are successful, they will become the first team since Crossmaglen Rangers in 2011 and 2012 to win back to back All-Ireland club championships. However, this will be no easy task.
Both teams showed ferocious attacking prowess in the build up to this final. You’d only have to look at the two semi-finals these outfits came through to recognise that Ireland’s finest shooting galleries will be on show in Croke Park this Sunday.
Corofin beat Gaoth Dobhair by 2-13 to 1-12 in last months semi final. They showed great urgency in front of goal, putting the ball in the back of the net twice before the interval through goals from Gary Sice and Martin Farragher. Sice would add 7 points from frees on the day.
Gaoth Dobhair displayed a fighting spirit but in the end, Corofin’s experience at this level shone through and they pushed on to put the result beyond doubt in the second half.
Meanwhile, their opponents from Kerry broke the hearts of their opponents from Longford, Mullinalaghta, in the semi-final. Mullinalaghta’s path to the semi-finals was the stuff of Hollywood until they met the giants from Killarney.
Despite the dismissal of Johnny Buckley in the 20th minute, Crokes ran out winners by 2-7 to 0-18 and all 6 of their forwards got on the scoresheet. The full forward trio of David Shaw, Kieran O’Leary and Tony Brosnan combined for 11 points in total.
What will perhaps be most frightening for Corofin, and a clear sign of just how lethal the Crokes forward line, is that Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper can’t break into the starting 15. The legendary forward, a 5-time All-Ireland winner with Kerry, was the star man in the final against Slaughtneil in 2017 and still has the ability to turn heads at his advanced age.
In 2017, Crokes beat Corofin in the semi-final on their way to that 2017 win. It was a day that the Corofin lads will not want to dwell on ahead of Sunday’s clash, ending Crokes 2-8, Corofin 0-8. They have come a long way since then and Sunday will be perhaps their biggest test to date.
Two sides with shooting boots firmly laced in this championship campaign go head-to-head, and this contest will go the way of whoever has those boots tied tightest. Throw in is at 3:45 pm, following the hurling final between Ballyhale Shamrocks and St Thomas’ at 2pm.