Tuam Stars GAA - History - 2011 & 2012: Back To Back County Finals - 2011


The 2011 Galway Senior Football Championship was memorable for the length of time it took to finish. Dubbed in the local newspapers, the "Year of The Replay" a player eligibility row between St. Michaels and Mountbellew Moylough, which was followed a freakish series of draws meant the final was pushed back until the end of October. In the middle of all this, Alan Flynn, part of the backroom team that saw Galway win the All-Ireland Under 21 title, and his squad quietly went about their business and reached their first county final since 1995.

Starting off with a comfortable win against Kilkerrin-Clonberne, the two sides met again in the last 16. Only a late goal pushed Tuam ahead in the closing stages and sealed their place in the quarter finals. However, a player eligibility row stemming from the first round match between St. Michaels and Mountbellew-Moylough took several weeks to resolve. Eventually a compromise was found between the two sides, and Mountbellew triumphed in the re-arranged fixture. They then saw off Cortoon Shamrocks, after extra time in the replay.

The first meeting between Mountbellew and Tuam finished level, 0-10 to 2-04. Still showing signs of rustiness, the Stars found themselves trailing by 7 points at half-time in the replay at Tuam Stadium. However, a stunning comeback was on the cards after three early second half points. John Lawless scored a crucial goal going into injury time that saw them trail by one point, until points from Jamie Murphy and Gary O'Donnell saw them edge out their opponents and reach the semi-final by a scoreline of 1-07 to 1-06.

Unbelievably, there was another draw in the semi-final against Salthill-Knocknacarra at Pearse Stadium. It proved to be a low scoring affair, 1-05 to 0-08 the final score. Many felt Tuam had left it behind them late on and were unlucky to draw, inter-county star Sean Armstrong equalising for Salthill in injury time. The replay took place a week later in Tuam Stadium, and the home side raced out of the blocks, Declan Beirne scoring an early goal. It was stated they were getting better with each game and they were on top in all areas of the field. However, Salthill kept in touch throughout. Tempers flared in the second half and when Salthill were reduced to 14 men, many felt there was only one winner. However, poor shooting late on kept Salthill in it going into injury time. However, the Stars held on to win by 2 points and reach their first county final in 16 years.

In the final, they faced their close neighbours and fierce rivals, Corofin . Tuam's absence from Galway club footballs showpiece event coincided with Corofin's dominance in the county. The two sides had last met in the 1995 final, where a last minute penalty save denied Tuam a replay. Since then, Corofin had won 7 county titles. The final was switched from Pearse Stadium to Tuam Stadium, a move that was welcomed by many within Galway football and the patrons of the town.

Despite great excitement and anticipation in the town, the final ended in disappointment for the Stars. Playing with the wind in the first half, Corofin built up a 9 point advantage at half-time. Tuam fought valiantly in the second half, and the turning point came where after they scored a much needed goal, they were awarded a penalty that could have reduced the deficit to 2 points. However, Shane Gaffney was denied by Corofin goalkeeper David Morris. The final score was Corofin 0-16, Tuam Stars 1-06.

Read more about this topic:  Tuam Stars GAA, History, 2011 & 2012: Back To Back County Finals

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