All-Ireland Club SFC semi-final: Corofin beat Gaoth Dobhair 2-13 to 1-12
Corofin ended Gaoth Dobhair's All-Ireland Club Football Championship hopes by earning a deserved 2-13 to 1-12 semi-final victory.
Martin Farragher's goal for Corofin just before half-time was the vital score after Kevin Cassidy had netted for the Ulster champions.
Cassidy's goal had cut Corofin's lead to only two after Gary Sice struck the All-Ireland champions' first goal.
Corofin's five-point cushion was always going to be a big ask for Gweedore.
And so it proved, as Corofin were able to run down the clock from well before the end by playing keep ball with the closest Gaoth Dobhair got in the second half two points down on 53 minutes after the Donegal side had struck three unanswered points.
Corofin responded by hitting four of the last six scores as Gweedore's inability to win possession off their own kickouts severely hindered the Ulster champions at Carrick-on-Shannon.
MacNiallais subdued by his high standards
Having won two of the last four All-Ireland titles, Corofin went into the contest as favourites but there that suspicion Gweedore might be capable of causing a surprise after producing some wonderful football on the way to winning a first Ulster title.
But given the quality in the Corofin ranks with current All-Star Ian Burke and his fellow Galway players Sice, Farragher, Michael Lundy and Liam Silke all involved, Gweedore needed a big game from influential midfielder Odhran MacNiallais and it didn't quite happen.
MacNiallais didn't have a bad afternoon by any stretch of the imagination but was unable to get on the ball to the extent required to produce a match-turning contribution.
And when Gweedore were building up a head of steam in the second half as they cut Corofin's lead to only two, they wasted further opportunities as possession fell to the wrong men on a couple of occasions as balls were kicked wide from promising positions.
Gweedore respond with Cassidy goal
Gaoth Dobhair twice led early on after long-range scores from Daire O Baoill and Cian Mulligan but Corofin were already showing an ability to cut open the Ulster champions' defence.
A Daithi Burke point could easily had ended up in the net as Corofin moved ahead in the 11th minute and the champions were five clear within a further five minutes as Sice lashed to the net from close range after Gweedore keeper Christopher Kelly had blocked Michael Lundy's pointblank chance.
To their credit, Gaoth Dobhair immediately responded in kind as Cassidy hammered the rebound to the net after Corofin keeper Bernard Power had been able to hold the charging Christopher McFadden's fierce shot.
When Mulligan's second point on 27 minutes cut Corofin's lead to the minimum, the momentum appeared to be with Gweedore but then came the crucial moment of the match as Sice's floated ball into the square was fielded by Burke who unselfishly laid off for Farragher to net from close range.
Corofin in control at half-time
With a further Sice free following before the break, Corofin went in five ahead and in firm control.
As born-again full-forward Cassidy struck two points from play and Eamonn O Colm notched two frees, Gweedore did cut Corofin's lead to only two with seven minutes left after the champions' influential forward Michael Lundy had been black carded for a hand trip.
However, sub Gavin Burke's glorious wind-assisted point for Corofin on 55 minutes was a momentum killer for Gaoth Dobhair.
Jason Leonard turned down a glorious chance a minute later to extend Corofin's lead to four, which soon became five after another Sice score.
Gweedore sub Shane O Baoill kicked scores - either side of Sice's sixth point - but it was too late for the Donegal club.