St. Brigid’s v Corofin on Sunday in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada Carrick-on-Shannon at 2 pm.
These two great clubs meet for the third time in recent years in the provincial final and in the previous two deciders, in 2006 and 2011, Brigid’s won by a single point, so the Galway men will be hoping that luck will be on their side on this occasion.
Corofin will go into Sunday’s final as favourites. They won the All-Ireland title only 18 months ago (2015) and their victory against a very strong Castlebar Mitchels side in the semi-final (after extra-time) has seen them go to the top of the betting not only to win on Sunday next, but to win the All-Ireland title in March.
Brigid’s will be the underdogs going into Sunday’s game and they will not have learned much from a very easy win against a poor Aughawillan side in the semi-final, a game in which they scored 2-18, but hit a lot of wides as well. Brigid’s have many players in their ranks that have ‘been there and done that’ and there is no substitute for experience especially at club level so the Roscommon men are certainly not without a chance.
Corofin come with an excellent record and a playing style that is very hard to play against. They are very strong all over the field with outstanding players in every line and they attack at speed and they flood back into defence in numbers. They have some outstanding attackers and Brigid’s will have to produce a huge performance to emerge victorious.
Brigid’s have experienced players on their side, but so do Corofin, in the shape of Kieran Fitzgerald Liam Silke, Ronan Steede, Gary Sice, Daithi Burke, Ian Burke, Cathal Silke, Kieran Molloy, Michael Farragher and Jason Leonard.
Their extra-time win against a Castlebar Mitchel’s side who missed a lot of frees and other chances during the game will give Brigid’s hope on Sunday. There is no doubt that Brigid’s will have to produce a performance better than anything we have seen from them so far this year if they are to upset the Galway side.
Garvan Dolan will be back at midfield and he will be a huge addition to Brigid’s, and if Cathal McHugh were to report fit then he would also be a big boost. On the downside, the loss of Ian Kilbride will be huge. He has been arguably the best St. Brigid’s player in 2016. The likes of Darragh Donnelly, the Sheehy brothers, Niall Grehan, Niall McInerney and Ronan Stack will have a big job in the Brigid’s defence trying to keep the likes of Ian Burke and company at bay. Garvan Dolan’s return to the midfield area will certainly be a boost.
It is unfortunate that this game is being held in Carrick-on-Shannon and not in Roscommon. Carrick is a fine venue but Brigid’s would much rather play this game at either Kiltoom or Dr Hyde Park – if it was available. Any small advantage that they might have will be crucial in a big game like this.
There is no doubt that Brigid’s have a big chance in this final but they will have to play out of their skins to win it. They have been creating plenty of scoring chances in recent games but they have been wasteful in attack. On Sunday they will have to take almost all their chances to win it. I am certainly not ruling out a St. Brigid’s win but the odds have to favour the Galway side in what should be a very competitive and well-contested final.
Match Odds: Corofin 4/9 St. Brigid’s 9/4 Draw 8/1.
Prediction: Corofin – narrowly.