Ben-d of the road for Clann as O’Carroll brace fires Brigid’s into last four

Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC quarter-final:
St Brigid’s 2-12 Clann na nGael 1-12

St Brigid’s came into this Roscommon SFC quarter-final unbeaten, and they remain so after winning this battle of the heavyweights at Dr Hyde Park on Saturday.

It was the men from Kiltoom who started brightest, talisman Ben O’Carroll finishing the ball to the net for the perfect start after just 45 seconds. O’Carroll then exchanged points with David McManus before Ultan Harney fired over a score after a great turnover by Emmet Durney’s men.

It was a very cagey affair early on, Clann managing to frustrate their opponents and stop them from using the severe breeze to any great advantage. Robbie Dolan linked up well with Conor Gleeson to fire over another score. A patient St Brigid’s were dominant in midfield in the opening half. Shane Cunnane was excellent in claiming James Martin’s pinpoint kickouts. The inclusion of 18-year-old Bobby Nugent in the starting 15 turned out to be a good decision. He scored a sublime point as he judged the wind to perfection to raise the white flag.

Further scores from Ben O’Carroll and a fisted effort from Ciaran Sugrue meant that St. Brigid’s were the happier of the two sides going into the half-time break, despite having five wides in the first half. They led 1-6 to 0-4 at the interval.

It was déjà vu just seconds into the second half as Ben O’Carroll grabbed another goal, this one a penalty after a foul on Ciaran Sugrue. It put St Brigid’s firmly in control. Ciaran Lennon and Nugent exchanged points before Cathal Shine lit the game up with an outstanding point after a brilliant team move. However, fine points from Eddie Nolan and Paul McGrath kept Clann at bay.

As the game moved towards its finale, St Brigid’s looked very comfortable, leading 2-11 to 0-8, but a contender for ‘Goal of the Year’ from Conor Farrell gave Clann a flicker of hope. Morale lifted, they continued to outscore St Brigid’s in those closing stages, claiming the last three points. However, St Brigid’s had done enough to advance to the semi-finals.

While big game experience certainly stood to St Brigid’s, kudos must go to their ‘young guns’, who really shone on Saturday. Shane Cunnane and Brian Stack played brilliantly, and teenager Bobby Nugent was on top form too. Once again Ben O’Carroll was the star of the show, scoring 2-2.

St. Brigid’s: J. Martin; D. Sheehy, B. Stack, M. Daly; S. Trundle, P. McGrath (0-1), R. Stack; B. O’Hara Duggan, E. Nolan (0-1); C. Gleeson (0-1), S. Cunnane (0-2, 2 frees), R. Dolan (0-1); B. O’Carroll (2-2, 1-0 pen, 1 m, 1 free), B. Nugent (0-2, 1 m), C. Sugrue (0-1). Subs: C. Hand (0-1) for D. Sheehy (half-time), P. Frost for C. Gleeson (half-time), D. Cunniffe for B. O’Hara Duggan (51 mins), B. Derwin for C. Sugrue (53 mins).

Clann na nGael: D. Finneran; T. Lennon, Feargal Lennon, S. Pettit; J. Connaughton, D. Summer, C. Duignan (0-1); D. McManus (0-1, 1 free) D. Pettit; Fearghus Lennon, E. Kenny, U. Harney (0-2); C. Farrell (1-2, 2 frees), C. Lennon (0-4, 0-3 frees), C. Shine (0-1). Subs: S. Henry for T. Lennon (37 mins), J. Lennon (0-1) for Fearghus Lennon (42 mins), O. O’Flaherty for D. McManus (44 mins), O. Lennon for J. Connaughton (53 mins).

Referee: Oliver Kelly.


Man of the Match

Ben O’Carroll