Brilliant Brigid’s foil Boyle

Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC semi-final

St Brigid’s 2-15 Boyle 2-9


Seamus Duke


Playing the style of open, attacking and expansive football that we have seen from them all the way through this championship, Benny O’Brien’s young St. Brigid’s side have powered into the county senior final on the back of another outstanding performance in this very enjoyable semi-final played at Dr. Hyde Park last Sunday.

On the mounting evidence of what we have seen so far, and especially in this resounding victory, Padraig Pearses will have to be at their very best to deny this very talented, well balanced and well coached St. Brigid’s team.

Boyle came to Dr. Hyde Park with strong claims to be the favourites to make it to their first senior final since 1927, but they were second best for most of an encounter which was played in almost perfect weather conditions.

With the Kiltoom young guns Ruari Fallon, Ben O’Carroll, Ciaran Sugrue, Brian Derwin and Paul McGrath on fire, Boyle were struggling from early on. Add in the more experienced performers like the Sheehys, Peter Domican, Eddie Nolan and Ronan Stack – all of whom made huge contributions – and it meant that St. Brigid’s were never in trouble and looked winners a long way before the final whistle.

Boyle actually started the match on the front foot and were ahead via a Donie Smith free early on. But in the 6th minute Ciaran Sugrue’s low shot appeared to be going wide but Ruari Fallon sneaked in at the far post to fist it home for a superb opportunist goal – and now the St. Brigid’s men were up and running.

Some of the football that St. Brigid’s played for the rest of the half was a joy to behold as points rained over from a variety of angles, scores coming from all over the field. They had ten different scorers, including four of their defenders. Boyle were struggling, and by half-time they were down 1-7 to 0-5, with two of their points coming in stoppage time.

Boyle did improve on the restart, but it was a false dawn as St Brigid’s tightened their grip on proceedings. By the 50th minute they led by 1-14 to 0-7. A well-taken goal from sub Colin Goldrick gave Basil Mannion’s team some hope and the margin was down to four when Enda Smith powered through for a second Boyle goal in the 54th minute.

The St. Brigid’s response was emphatic. Two minutes later James Martin’s brilliant kick-out was fielded by Eoin Sheehy who sent Ruari Fallon racing away and his clever pass to Ben O’Carroll was dispatched to the Boyle net. Game over.

Many people acknowledged at the start of this championship that St. Brigid’s had a very talented young team but that it might be a year or two too soon for them to be ready to challenge for a senior title. They have proven over the past two months that not alone are they ready to challenge, they are certainly good enough to win it. Their swashbuckling style of attacking play is so easy on the eye and they will relish the chance to play for the Fahey Cup on Sunday week.

For Boyle, it was another desperately disappointing day. They have been in four of the last five semi-finals and have come up short. They will certainly have no complaints with the result last weekend. It will take a huge effort for them to come back as strong next year again.

Note: The game was well refereed by Seamus McManus.

St. Brigid’s: James Martin; Darragh Sheehy (0-1), Peter Domican, Pearse Frost (0-1); Alan Daly (0-1), Ronan Stack, Paul McGrath (0-1); Brian Stack, Eddie Nolan (0-1); Donnacha Gately, Eoin Sheehy (0-1), Ruari Fallon (1-0); Ben O’Carroll (1-2, two frees), Brian Derwin (0-3, one free, one mark), Ciaran Sugrue (0-4). Subs used: Jack McDonnell for Gately (47), Ruari Smith for McDonnell (59), Robbie Dolan for Gately (59).

Boyle: Robert Kearney; Killian Cox, Conor Flanagan, Ciaran Beirne; Evan McGrath, Seanie Purcell, Tadhg McKenna (0-1); Roch Hanmore, Enda Smith (1-0); Tadhg Lowe, Donie Smith (0-3, 2 frees), Kieran Cox; Mark O’Donohoe (0-2), Cian McKeon (0-2), Cathal Feeley (0-1). Subs used: Jack Moran for Kieran Cox (38), Mark O’Connor for Lowe (45), Colin Goldrick (1-0) for O’Donohoe (46), Michael Hanmore for Beirne (56), Seamus Kane for Feely (58 mins).

Referee: Seamus McManus (Clann na nGael).