Dolan denies gallant Gaels

Hodson Bay Roscommon SFC

St Brigid’s 2-7 Roscommon Gaels 1-9

A point from Darren Dolan in the 60th minute gave St Brigid’s victory in this excellent, intensely fought and hugely-entertaining match played in terrible weather conditions at Strokestown last Saturday evening.

  The town side had dominated possession and were on top at midfield throughout, but the only statistic that matters is the final score – and Brigid’s showed once again that they can win games when not at their best. The Gaels had ten wides to St Brigid’s five, and they were to rue some bad misses over the hour. But all credit to both sides for one of the best games we have seen in the championship in Roscommon in a number of years.

  Roscommon Gaels exploded into the game with a Kieran Kilcline goal after only 40 seconds. Points from Frankie Dolan (free) and Cathal McHugh got Brigid’s up and running. Scores from Brian Kelly and Cian Connolly (a free) kept the Gaels ahead.

  Then in the 24th minute an excellent Brigid’s move ended with Frankie Dolan scoring a great team goal and at half-time the champions led by a point, 1-4 to 1-3. Brian Kelly and David O’Gara pointed for the Gaels and Darragh Sheehy replied for Brigid’s on the resumption to tie up the scores at 1-5 apiece.

  Then in the 38th minute Darragh Sheehy’s shot for a point fell short and Senan Kilbride fisted home a goal to put Brigid’s three ahead.

  Roscommon Gaels totally dominated the play after that and with James McDermott and Mark Healy in control at midfield, they scored four points in a row to move into the lead. Mark Nally (2), David O’Gara and Enda Lannon (free) were the Gaels’ scorers. Then a Senan Kilbride free levelled the scores and Darren Dolan’s point in the 60th minute edged the champions ahead.

  The Gaels could have won it in injury-time. Cian Connolly was through on goal but he elected to pass and the ball went astray. Brigid’s had narrowly survived a very stern test from Liam McNeill’s Gaels side.

St Brigid’s: Cormac Sheehy; Niall Grehan, Darragh Donnelly, Conor McNiece; Brian Stack, Ronan Stack, Darragh Sheehy (0-1); Ian Kilbride, Garvan Dolan; Padraig Kelly (0-1), Cathal McHugh (0-1), Paddy Mulvihill; Frankie Dolan (1-1, 1 free), Senan Kilbride (1-2, 2 frees), David Cunniffe. Subs: Ger Aherne for G Dolan (black card 28), Darren Dolan (0-1) for Cunniffe (45), Karol Mannion for Kelly (47), Johnny Murray for D Sheehy (54). Roscommon Gaels: Owen Hoare; Paul Gleeson, John McManus, Liam McNeela; Kevin Kilcline, James McKeague, Ollie Hannon; James McDermott, Mark Healy; Scott Oates (0-1), Kieran Kilcline (1-0), David O’Gara (0-2); Brian Kelly (0-2, 1 free), Mark Nally (0-2), Cian Connolly (0-1, 1 free). Subs: Richard Hughes for Hannon (35), Enda Lannon (0-1 free) for Kelly (43), Cillian Egan for Kevin Kilcline (54), Johnny Conteh for Oates (black card, 56). Referee: Paul Daly. Man of the Match: James McDermott (Roscommon Gaels) Darragh Sheehy was the best St Brigid’s player on the day and others who did well for the defending champions were Niall Grehan, Cathal McHugh, Senan Kilbride and sub Darren Dolan. For the Gaels, Liam McNeela, Mark Healy, Scott Oates (second half) and David O’Gara (second half), were all prominent, but even though he was on the losing side, James McDermott is the choice. He had a superb game. On a difficult day for football his fielding and distribution were top class.