Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC (Group A)
St. Brigid’s 3-25
St. Croan’s 4-7
If someone had told you before the match that St. Croan’s would score 4-7 and still lose by 15 points you would be forgiven for laughing at the thought. But that’s exactly what happened in this truly bizarre match played at Dr. Hyde Park on Saturday evening.
Brigid’s needed to win and St. Croan’s needed a draw to stay in the championship but any notion that this would be a cautious defence-driven affair was dismissed as Brigid’s in particular went for the jugular from the first whistle. The game was over as a contest by half-time when Brigid’s led by 1-16 to 0-2. Indeed were it not for the heroics of Croan’s net-minder Vinny Egan, the Kiltoom men could easily have scored at least three more goals in that opening half such was their dominance.
Down 18 points starting the second half, Croan’s threw caution to the wind, scored four goals, hit the frame of the goal twice and missed at least another three excellent goal chances such was the crazy nature of the contest. But Brigid’s could always keep their opponents at arm’s length and they won pulling up.
It was one-way traffic in the opening half. With Brian Stack, Ciaran Sugrue, Padraig Kelly, Ronan Stack and company in total control the scores piled up and the only goal of the half arrived in the 19th minute, a splendid team effort finished by Paul McGrath.
Croan’s’ first goal arrived in the 34th minute when Damien Goggins converted a penalty after Dan Malone was fouled. But Brigid’s put the foot on the accelerator after that and by the 48th minute they led by 2-21 to 1-4, their second goal coming from the boot of Ian Kilbride.
Croan’s persisted, however, and Cathal Connelly grabbed a second goal in the 49th minute and with nine minutes to go Keith Muldoon fisted a third for the Ballintubber men and the same player was on hand to convert again in the 53rd minute. Brigid’s were never under any threat, but the fact they conceded four goals will not have pleased their management. Brian Stack completed the goal-fest in the 60th minute with a converted a Brigid’s penalty.
After two poor performances, Brigid’s have found their shooting boots, and while they are certainly a team in transition, they will be dangerous opponents in the play-off stages. For Croan’s, who were only eliminated from the championship by Elphin’s late equaliser against Fuerty, it’s a relegation battle.
St. Brigid’s: James Martin; Pearse Frost, Niall McInerney, Alan Daly (0-1); Ronan Stack (0-2), Peter Domican, Eoin Sheehy (0-2); Ian Kilbride (1-2), Eddie Nolan (0-3, ’45); Padraig Kelly (0-4), Paul McGrath (1-0), Gearoid Cunniffe (0-2); Brian Derwin (0-2), Brian Stack (1-1, 1 pen), Ciaran Sugrue (0-5).
Subs: David Cunniffe for Sheehy (48), Gavin Byrne for McGrath (50), Conor Gleeson (0-1) for Derwin (53), Eamonn Cunnane for Nolan (56).
St. Croan’s: Vinnie Egan; Derek Conway, Greg Grogan, Philip Leech; Mark Kilcommins, Maurice Connaughton, Ger Connaughton; Richard Thompson (0-2, 2 frees), Dean Muldoon; Cathal Connelly (1-1), Aidan Brogan (0-1), Adrian Collins; Keith Muldoon (2-3, 1 free), Dan Malone, Damien Giggins (1-0, 1 pen).
Subs: Michael Holland for Collins (26), Brendan Pacey for Conway (h/t), Jason Egan for Brogan (55), Adrian Collins for Goggins (59).
Referee: Kevin Naughton
Man of the Match: Ciaran Sugrue (St. Brigid’s)