Clann the underdogs as champions arrive





AIB Connacht Club SFC Semi-Final: Clann na nGael v Corofin on Sunday at Dr. Hyde Park at 1.30 pm



There will huge interest in this one, the visit of the All-Ireland champions to Hyde Park to face the new Roscommon champions who will go into the game as underdogs but who have a great chance of upsetting the odds if they can hit the form we saw in the county final.

  On the form that Corofin showed when winning their national title in Croke Park in March, Clann would have no chance on Sunday. But this is a different day and a different set of circumstances, and after a poor enough display against Tir Chonaill Gaels last Sunday, Clann will know that they will have to up the ante if they want to progress to the final. However there is loads of room for improvement.

  Corofin have emerged from the Galway championship after a dour double battle with Mountbellew-Moylough when defences were definitely on top. A couple of friends who attended both games told me that it was brutal stuff to watch. But Corofin will not worry about that and maybe now that they have emerged from the county for the sixth year in a row they will throw the shackles off. If they do, it could be a long evening for Clann.

  The Galway side have very familiar names in their side. The evergreen Kieran Fitzgerald is still a very good full-back and inspiration for the rest of his team mates. Liam Silke, Dylan McHugh and Kieran Molloy form a very solid half-back line.

  Hurling hero Daithi Burke and Ronan Steede will be hoping to win the midfield battle. Michael Lundy leads the attack from centre half-forward while Gary Sice and the two Farraghers will be hoping to get the scores inside.

  Clann will certainly have to tighten up in the full-back line. They were in trouble against the exiles last Sunday. Hopefully Jack Connaughton will be back for this encounter. His energy and running and ball carrying ability are vital to his side. Ultan Harney and Cathal Shine will have to do more at midfield. That battle will be pivotal.

  Once again Donie Shine’s contribution will be important. His free-taking prowess and ability to inspire those around him is priceless for Clann. Ciarán Lennon is a super target man. Clann must be able to get the ball to him and let the likes of Cathal Callinan, Cian McManus and Jamie Fahy feed off him.

  After a ropey display last Sunday, Clann will know what they have to do to be in with a chance in this match. It’s a good way to be going into the game. Expectations will not be high. I won’t be surprised if Clann give this a huge rattle but it would be more than a shock if they were to overturn the All-Ireland champions.

Prediction: Corofin