Brilliant Brigid’s strut into final!

Three goals in eight minutes crushed Gaels

Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC semi-final

St Brigid’s 4-15 Roscommon Gaels 0-12

Ben O’Carroll in action during last Saturday’s Roscommon SFC semi-final against Roscommon Gaels in Dr Hyde Park. Pic: Bernie O’Farrell

In the run-up to this semi-final there are those who were of the opinion that St Brigid’s had not yet been tested and that Roscommon Gaels would provide them with a very stern examination. That theory was blown out of the water as Brigid’s showed last Saturday why they are the hot favourites to reclaim the Fahey Cup in 2023 with a superb display of attacking, enterprising and open football throughout this one-sided semi-final.

Roscommon Gaels simply couldn’t cope as Brigid’s drove forward relentlessly, their quicksilver forwards easily finding space in the opposition rearguard. Some of the St Brigid’s scores were a joy to watch, and in truth the game was over as a contest at half-time, by which stage the favourites led 3-7 to 0-5.

On a perfect day weather-wise, and on a superb surface at Dr Hyde Park, St Brigid’s were always on top. Shane Cunnane and Eddie Nolan were winning the midfield battle, and by the 12th minute they led by 0-4 to 0-1, with Ben O’Carroll already showing his class with two points (one a free).

Peter Gillooly whipped over a smart point for the town side to narrow the gap in the 16th minute, but after that Brigid’s took over completely and they sliced open the Gaels defence at will. Three goals in an eight-minute spell finished the game as a contest.

In the 19th minute, Eddie Nolan crashed the ball home after a brilliant pass from O’Carroll. Two minutes later Ronan Stack galloped forward to blast home another great team score, then in the 27th minute Nolan returned the favour, putting Ben O’Carroll through. He made no mistake from close-range.

The Gaels replied with two points in injury-time at the end of the half – through Mark Nally and a Mark Purcell ’45 – but even at that stage it was damage limitation. The Gaels’ cause wasn’t helped by a black card shown to Mark Nally (a sub for Paddy Fannon) in the second minute of injury-time, which reduced them to 14 men for the opening period of the second half.

The Gaels were somewhat better on the resumption but the game was over as a contest, and Brigid’s continued to find gaps in their  rearguard when they needed to. Brigid’s’ fourth goal arrived in the 50th minute after a barnstorming run from Brian Stack put Ben O’Carroll through. He finished with aplomb.

Both sides ran their respective benches as the game petered out, and it was notable that three of the Brigid’s subs scored from play. The Kiltoom side have a very formidable overall panel and it’s another indication of their strength.

Cormac Sheehy was very impressive between the posts for Brigid’s and his kickouts were excellent. Brian Stack, Pearse Frost and Ronan Stack were outstanding in defence, while Eddie Nolan and Shane Cunnane ruled the roost at midfield.

Up front, Ben O’Carroll was superb, while Paul McGrath, Ruaidhrí Fallon and Conor Hand were not far behind. It was a treat to watch St Brigid’s in full flow last Saturday as they played some superb football. They will be very hard to beat in the final if they can repeat this kind of form.

Scott Oates was Roscommon Gaels’ best player by a distance, while John McManus and Senan Lambe were also prominent at times – but the town team could have no complaints on the day.