Commanding Brigid’s make play-offs

Hodson Bay Roscommon SFC Round 3 (Group A): St. Brigid’s 0-12

A much-improved second half performance from St. Brigid’s saw them sweep past Roscommon Gaels to win by three points in this highly competitive Group A game played in very difficult weather conditions at Ballyforan last Sunday.

  The Gaels looked to be in a great position at half-time because having played against the strong wind and rain in the first half, they went in level (1-4 to 0-7) and they could probably have been leading. But Brigid’s upped the ante in the second half and The Gaels managed only two second half points (only one from play) as the Kiltoom men almost totally blotted out The Gaels’ attack in that second period.

  A strong wind and squally rain showers made conditions very difficult but this was an intensely fought and very enjoyable championship game in which no quarter was asked or given. The Gaels began best and Cian Connolly and Paul Gleeson scored points from play within two minutes for the town side. Cathal McHugh replied with a great score from 40 metres in the 7th minute but two minutes later the Gaels scored an excellent goal. Kieran Kilcline made a storming run into the heart of the Brigid’s defence and he drew the cover before passing to Enda Lannon who fisted to the empty net. 

  But Brigid’s took over after that and by the 18th minute they were ahead. Eoin Sheehy (a ’45), Karol Mannion, Cathal McHugh, Senan Kilbride  (from 55 metres) and Darren Dolan scored the points to see the former All-Ireland champions ahead by a point, 0-6 to 1-2. But the Gaels were playing well, and points from Aidan Duignan and John McManus before half-time saw them go in level. Cathal McHugh replied for Brigid’s with a pointed free. Indeed The Gaels could have gone in ahead as full-forward Johnnie Conteh was through on goal in stoppage time but he fired wide of the posts.

  Brigid’s were a different proposition on the restart. Sub Ian Kilbride was having a huge influence on proceedings and the Gaels attack was totally ineffective in that second period. There was no scoring at all in the third quarter and the exchanges were very hard fought but always fair and the game never got out of hand. In the 45th minute Cathal McHugh lofted over a free from 25 metres and two minutes later Darren Dolan scored a peach of a point into the wind from 35 metres.

  With ten minutes to go Enda Lannon reduced the margin to one with a ’45 and when Kieran Kilcline pointed with four minutes to go the sides were level. But with the Gaels attack misfiring, Brigid’s dug in again to produce a winning run. Sub Davy Cunniffe pointed in the 57th minute from 20 metres and when Cathal McHugh scored a free from 13 metres in the 59th minute, Brigid’s were in control and it was fitting that in the 61st minute that Brigid’s best player on the day Eoin Sheehy, drove over a great point from 30 metres.

  So Brigid’s are back in business with two wins out of three and they are now in the play-offs. For Roscommon Gaels who had already qualified, they will be disappointed to have lost after their first half display but they will be confident of getting the train back on the tracks against Boyle next weekend.

 Best for Brigid’s were Eoin Sheeny, Niall McInerney, Darren Dolan, Cathal McHugh and sub Ian Kilbride while for Roscommon Gaels Liam McNeela, Kevin O’Gara, David O’Gara, John McManus and sub Cillian Egan were best.

St. Brigid’s: James Martin; Jamie Gallagher, Niall McInerney, Robbie Kelly; Eoin Sheeny (0-2, 1 ’45), Niall Grehan, Robbie Fallon; Darragh Donnelly, Garvan Dolan; Conor Murray, Cathal McHugh (0-5, 3 frees), Darren Dolan (0-2); Senan Kilbride (0-1), Karol Mannion (0-1), Brian Stack. Subs: Ian Kilbride for Fallon (20), Darragh Sheehy for Kelly (36), Davy Cunniffe (0-1) for Donnelly (41), J McDonnell for D Dolan (59).

Roscommon Gaels: James Fetherstone; Kevin Kilcline, Liam McNeela, Kevin O’Gara; Ronan Gleeson, David O’Gara, John McManus (0-1); James McDerrmott, Kieran Kilcline (0-1); Aidan Duigan (0-1), Enda Lannon (1-1, ’45), Brian Kelly; Paul Gleeson (0-1), Johnnie Conteh, Cian Connolly (0-1). Subs: Cillian Egan for Conteh (35), Richard Hughes for Kelly (45), John Nolan for Duignan (53), R Horan for Kevin Kilcline (58).

Man of the Match: Eoin Sheehy (St. Brigid’s)

Wides: St. Brigid’s 9 Roscommon Gaels 4

Referee: Ollie Kelly


*Note: A word of thanks to the St Aidan’s club for their hospitality on Sunday last.