Roscommon U-20 Division One FC Final: St. Brigid’s 1-8 St. Dominic’s 0-8
St. Brigid’s’ U-20 team rounded off a superb year for the club when they lifted the U-20 title in Ballyforan last Sunday to add to the U-16, Minor, Junior ‘A’ and Senior titles already in the bag. But this was a hard-fought victory as St. Dominic’s matched them all the way in what was a very competitive final.
Brigid’s were probably just about the better side overall, but when Dominic’s look back on this final they will know that it was a game they could have won. The difference between the teams is that Brigid’s could come by a score easier than their opponents. Dominic’s kicked a number of bad wides especially in the first half and that, allied to two marvellous saves from St. Brigid’s goalkeeper Seamus Smith in the second half, saw the cup back in Kiltoom for the winter.
In such a low-scoring match a goal was always going to be crucial and when Gavin Byrne took advantage of hesitancy in the Dominic’s defence in the 16th minute to shoot low and hard to the net it gave Brigid’s the breathing space they needed.
On a crisp, cool day, there was a big crowd in Ballyforan for this local derby and the opening quarter was very hard-fought and intense. Ciaran Sugrue (who had a great game) opened the scoring with a fine point after 8 minutes, but Dominic’s were level within a minute when Daire Keenan scored a great point from 25 metres.
In the 10th minute Dominic’s were ahead when Keenan was once again on the mark after a lovely team move. But Dominic’s were guilty of defensive slackness in the 16th minute and Gavin Byrne took full advantage. Derek Doyle’s free in the 20th minute narrowed the gap to one.
But two Keelan Byrne frees saw Brigid’s increase their lead by the 28th minute. In injury-time Doyle was on the mark with a 20-metre free and then in the 33rd minute a great passing move saw Darren Carroll pop up to leave Brigid’s ahead by 1-4 to 0-4 at half-time.
In the first minute of the second half Donnacha Gately stretched Brigid’s’ lead with a fine point. But Dominic’s were giving as good as they were getting. Michael McGloin was outstanding in the middle of the field and was driving his team forward. You felt Dominic’s needed a goal and they tried hard to get that vital score. In the 38th minute Daire Keenan was through on goal but Seamus Smith made a super save and the Brigid’s net-minder was once again the saviour in the 40th minute. Colm Murray was through but once again Smith was equal to the shot.
But Dominic’s were enjoying a good spell. Daire Keenan pointed a free in the 41st minute and Michael McGloin pointed from 30 metres in the 44th minute after a Brigid’s clearance went astray. But just when it looked like the match was going to swing towards St. Dominic’s, Brigid’s’ Ciaran Sugrue scored a great point in the 48th minute.
Eoin McCormack galloped forward to score a fine Dominic’s point in the 57th minute but you always got the feeling that Dominic’s needed that goal if they were going to have a chance and it never came. Sugrue stuck over another great score in the 58th minute to extend the margin to three going into injury-time.
In added time, the outstanding Michael McGloin scored a wonderful point from 40 metres out but Brigid’s kept their composure and Jack McDonnell worked a super point in the second minute of injury-time to seal another title success for the Kiltoom men.
For manager Shane Curran and his team this was a great win but they will know that it was a close shave and superior scoring power proved the difference. Best for them were goalkeeper Seamus Smith, Shane Furey, Darren Carroll, Conor Murray, Donnacha Gately and my ‘Man of the Match’ Ciaran Sugrue.
Dominic’s will know that if they had taken their chances it could have been a different story. For them Michael McGloin was outstanding all through and Michael Feeley, Eoin McCormack, Colm Murray and Daire Keenan were prominent.
St. Brigid’s: Seamus Smith; Keelan Connor, Shane Furey, Pearse Frost; Darren Carroll (0-1), Cian McBrearty, George O’Hara; Eddie Nolan, Conor Murray; Jack McDonnell (0-1), Brian Stack, Gavin Byrne (1-0); Ciaran Sugrue (0-3), Donnacha Gately (0-1), Keelan Byrne (0-2, frees). Subs: Brian Derwin for Nolan (38), Eoin Minagh for McBrearty (51), Ian O’Rourke for Stack (b/c 61).
St. Dominic’s: Conor Fallon; Rory Dempsey, Michael Feeley, Ethan Connaughton; Daire Byrne, Eoin McCormack (0-1), Ronan Kilcline; Michael McGloin (0-2), Colm Murray; Thomas Doyle, Derek Doyle (0-2), Brendan O’Meara; Daire Keenan (0-3, 1 free), John Murray, Sean Kenny. Subs: David Gately for Doyle (h/t), Kyran Dockery for Kenny (36), Noel Watson for C Murray (49), Ryan O’Beirne for J Murray (58).
Referee: Aaron Clogher.