Brilliant Brigid’s blast champions

Roscommon People Game of the Weekend

Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC (Group A)
St Brigid’s 4-10 Padraig Pearses 0-8

Paul McGrath…was one of a number of outstanding performers for St. Brigid’s last weekend. File pic: Bernie O’Farrell

St Brigid’s sent a very loud and clear message to all comers that they are determined to take the Fahey Cup back to Kiltoom this year with this whopping 14-point win against reigning Roscommon and Connacht champions Padraig Pearses at sunny Ballyforan last Sunday.

It is a long time since a Pearses team was as easily beaten in the championship, but one must remember that the title holders were in a somewhat similar position last year after losing to Clann na nGael. As the record shows, they recovered then!

Having said that, this was a very poor display from Pearses, particularly in defence, as Brigid’s young attackers tore them to shreds with some delightful football. The result was a foregone conclusion long before referee Paddy Neilan called a halt to proceedings.

Hubert Darcy pointed a 3rd minute free but by the time they got their next point in the 18th minute the champions were eight points down. In the 6th minute Conor Gleeson blasted home a great goal after a storming run and clever pass from Brian Stack. Just two minutes later Eddie Nolan was pulled back on his way towards goal and Ben O’Carroll converted the resultant penalty.

Without regular goalkeeper Paul Whelan, Pearses were totally at sea in defence and Brigid’s threatened with almost every attack. Ciaran Sugrue and O’Carroll were posing problems time after time with some outstanding play. In the 28th minute we saw a contender for goal of the season. Eddie Nolan set off on a mazy run straight down the centre. He exchanged passes with Sugrue before unleashing a bullet of a shot past Aaron Feehily. It was a fantastic effort. By half-time Brigid’s were 3-5 to 0-3 ahead.

The second half was a pedestrian affair as Brigid’s continued to dominate. In the 40th minute Ben O’Carroll’s shot squirmed under Feehily for Brigid’s fourth goal and now there were 16 points between the teams.

The respective managers ran their benches as the game petered out with Brigid’s in total control. Brian Stack, Paul McGrath, Ronan Stack, Eddie Nolan, Shane Cunnane, Ben O’Carroll and Ciaran Sugrue were outstanding on the day. On this evidence it will take a very good team to beat them (if any can) in this year’s championship.

It is far too early to be writing the obituary of this Pearses team. They will surely never play as poorly again. However, manager Pat Flanagan will want to put this hammering out of their minds if they are to regain a title-defending mindset. Daniel Farrell and Jack Tumulty had their moments but on the day there was very little for Pearses fans to shout about.

St Brigid’s: James Martin; Darragh Sheehy, Brian Stack, Sean Trundle; Paul McGrath, Ronan Stack (0-1), Brian O’Hara-Duggan; Mark Daly, Eddie Nolan (1-0); Conor Gleeson (1-0), Shane Cunnane (0-2, frees), Robbie Dolan; Ben O’Carroll (2-3, 1-0 pen; 2 frees), Bobby Nugent, Ciaran Sugrue (0-4). Subs: Davy Cunniffe for Gleeson (43), Peter Domican for Sheehy (45), Martin Nolan for O’Hara-Duggan (50), Conor Hand for Nugent (55).

Padraig Pearses: Aaron Feehily; Conor Lohan, Mark Richardson, Daniel Farrell; Conor Hanley, David Murray, Ronan Daly; Hubert Darcy (0-3, frees), Niall Daly; Declan Kenny (0-1), Jack Tumulty (0-2), Caelim Keogh; Eoin Colleran, Tom Butler, Paul Carey. Subs: Niall Carty for Colleran (h/t), Shane Carty (0-1) for Kenny and Jack Downey for Harley (both 37), Emmett Kelly (0-1) for Carey (43), Lorcan Daly for Lohan (46).

Referee: Paddy Neilan.

*St Brigid’s are through to the quarter-finals and will face Tulsk in the final round in Group A. Pearses face Strokestown needing a draw or a win to progress to the last eight.