Frankie’s empire strikes back for cut at Cake

Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC Semi-Final: St. Brigid’s 4-10 Boyle 2-8

“They haven’t gone away you know” is a phrase once made famous in the political arena but it could easily be applied to St. Brigid’s, who breezed into another county senior final playing some fantastic football and they easily saw off a Boyle side who never got going until the final quarter, and by that stage it was all over as a contest.

  On the evidence of this display, it will take a monumental effort from Pádraig Pearses to deny St. Brigid’s another county title as they easily dealt with any threat that Boyle had to offer and they notched up some magnificent scores in the process. By the 46th minute, they led by a whopping 17 points (4-8 to 0-3) before easing off and they allowed Boyle to come back into the game and they put some respectability on the scoreboard in the final quarter.

   In fairness to Boyle, and to Seanie Purcell in particular (he had a mighty game all through), they never gave up, and they outscored Brigid’s by 2-5 to 0-2 in that final phase of the game. But it was too little, too late for Mick Jordan’s men and Frankie Dolan’s side will now prepare for a final on home turf against old rivals Pádraig Pearses. Shane Curran v Frankie Dolan! What a sideshow that promises to be.

  This semi-final drew a big crowd to Strokestown on a windy but sunny evening. Brigid’s dominated from the start and Boyle had very few chances to make any inroads. It was 0-4 to 0-1 after 13 minutes with Enda Smith scoring Boyle’s only point in the 7th minute. Brigid’s’ scores coming from Cathal McHugh (2) Ian Kilbride and impressive youngster Brian Stack.

  The goal that Brigid’s were threatening arrived in the 20th minute. Brian Stack started the move, which also involved Senan Kilbride, and young Stack fisted home. The defiant Seanie Purcell pointed for Boyle in the 25th minute but points from Senan Kilbride and Garvan Dolan (a fine long-range point from 40 metres) saw Brigid’s ahead by 1-6 to 0-2 at half-time having played against the strong breeze.

  Further disaster was to befall Boyle in the third quarter and Brigid’s’ devastating attacking play was a joy to watch at times. With barely 20 seconds on the clock after the resumption, Senan Kilbride made a brilliant one-handed catch, swivelled and smashed a left foot shot high into the Boyle net. Within a minute, Brigid’s were at it again. Senan Kilbride was fouled in the large square and referee Gerry Carmody pointed to the spot. Karol Mannion’s penalty crashed against the Boyle crossbar and was cleared, but if Boyle thought they were out of the woods they were mistaken, A minute later Brian Stack did the spadework and Karol Mannion fisted home another goal.

  When Brigid’s sub Jack McDonnell fisted home yet another goal in the 46th minute after a series of seven passes, Brigid’s were running riot and a record score was a possibility. But credit to Boyle they set about putting some respectability on their performance and they drove at Brigid’s for the final 15 minutes of play.

  Cian McKeon fisted home a fine goal in the 47th minute after another great run from the tireless Purcell, and when Roch Hanmore fisted home another goal in the 56th minute, Boyle were making inroads on the Brigid’s lead. Points from Cian McKeon, Darren O’Connor, Seanie Purcell and Tadgh McKenna added to their total, but Brigid’s were already making plans to tackle Pádraig Pearses in the final. The hard work was done and it will take a very good team to beat Brigid’s again this year.

  For Brigid’s, Niall McInerney, Eoin Sheehy, Mark Daly, Garvan Dolan, Senan Kilbride sub Jack McDonnell and Brian Stack were very impressive on the day. Boyle will be disappointed that they didn’t get going earlier. Seanie Purcell was their best player by a country mile and others who did well on the day were Tadgh McKenna, Roch Hanmore and Cian McKeon. But they will be the first to admit that they were outclassed on the day.

Note: out of the 6-18 scored by both teams on Sunday last 6-17 came from play, which must be some sort of record.

St. Brigid’s: Shane Mannion; Ronan Stack, Niall McInerney, Darragh Donnelly; Darragh Sheehy, Ian Kilbride (0-1), Eoin Sheehy (0-1); Mark Daly, Garvan Dolan (0-1); Brian Stack (1-1), Darren Dolan (0-1), Conor Murray; Karol Mannion (1-0), Senan Kilbride (1-1), Cathal McHugh (0-2). Subs: Jack McDonnell (1-0) for McHugh (45), Frankie Dolan for D Dolan (49), Johnny Murray for M Daly (53), Niall Grehan for E Sheehy (53), Davy Cunniffe for B Stack (55), John Cunningham (0-1) for G Dolan (59).

Boyle: Tadgh Lowe; Michael Hanmore, Killian Cox, Cian Beirne; Dylan East (0-1), Seanie Purcell (0-2), Tadgh McKenna (0-1); David Callaghan, Roch Hanmore (1-0); Kieran Cox, Enda Smith (0-1), Darren O’Connor (0-1); Jim Suffin, Gareth Gilmartin, Cian McKeon (1-2, 1 free). Subs: Donie Smith for Kieran Cox (26), Mark O’Donohghue for Suffin (45), Marbk Goldrick for Gilmartin (52), Mark O’Connor for East (58). Referee: Gerry Carmody