Dynamic Donie fires Boyle to dramatic win
Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC semi-final
Boyle 1-12 St Brigid’s 0-12
Boyle kicked three precious points in the final five minutes of this Roscommon SFC semi-final to seal their first county senior final place in almost a century following a thrilling battle against St Brigid’s.
It’s hard to believe that it is actually 95 years (1927) since Boyle were in a senior final. On the balance of play they just about deserved their victory on Sunday.
However, St Brigid’s will point to a controversial incident in the 49th minute when referee Paddy Neilan pointed to the spot after Boyle defender Daniel Casey appeared to pick the ball off the ground in the small square. After consulting his umpires Neilan changed his mind and awarded a ‘throw-up’ on the 20-metre line (which was cleared). Given the closeness of the match, it was a crucial call.
That disputed incident doesn’t take away from a super Boyle performance, led by captain Donie Smith who was tremendous on the day and who inspired his side to this historic victory. The county star led by example, scoring 1-6 of his side’s total.
With the strong wind aiding St Brigid’s, the Kiltoom men opened strongly and built up a 0-5 to 0-0 lead by the 11th minute with points from Shane Cunnane (2), Ben O’Carroll (2) and Conor Gleeson.
Boyle slowly got into the match. After they got on the scoreboard with a Cian McKeon free and a fine score from Daire Cregg, a vital goal arrived in the 20th minute. Daire Cregg was clearly fouled on his way toward goal and Donie Smith expertly tucked away the resultant spot-kick. All of a sudden, the sides were level.
St. Brigid’s finished the half strongest with points from Robbie Dolan, the excellent Ben O’Carroll, and a Shane Cunnane ’45. At the break it was St Brigid’s 0-9 Boyle 1-3.
The wind and rain had almost disappeared for the second half which proved to be a thrilling spectacle as fortunes swayed one way and then the other. Points from Donie Smith (two frees) and a fine Daire Cregg score levelled the scores by the 38th minute. The contest was now set for a nail-biting conclusion. Another McKeon free edged Boyle ahead, but Brigid’s were not going to lie down.
Ben O’Carroll and sub Brian Derwin nudged their side ahead with ten minutes to go. Then that controversial non-penalty call came. You got the sense that it was just going to be Boyle’s day, and so it proved.
With the sides level at 0-12 to 1-9, Boyle kicked on for a famous victory. Donie Smith pointed a free in the 55th minute and a minute later he drove over a brilliant score from play from 50 metres.
When Cian McKeon added another pointed free in the second minute of injury-time the Boyle supporters could celebrate a truly historic day for the club. Now they can prepare to meet Strokestown in what will be a unique final on October 23rd.
Apart from the outstanding Donie Smith, Luke Glennon, Tadhg McKenna, Evan McGrath, Cian McKeon and Enda Smith (second half) were very prominent for Boyle.
For a St Brigid’s side who can count themselves unlucky on the day, Ben O’Carroll was their best player, while Eddie Nolan, Peter Domican, Paul McGrath and Robbie Dolan all played well.
Boyle: Robert Kearney; Donal Casey, Conor Flanagan, Luke Glennon; Killian Cox, Sean Purcell, Tadhg McKenna; Roch Hanmore, Enda Smith; Cathal Feely, Evan McGrath, Dylan East; Daire Cregg (0-2), D. Smith (1-6, 1-0 pen, 4 frees), Cian McKeon (0-4, three frees). Subs: Eden Kerins for Flanagan (43), Colin Goldrick for Feely (45), Mark O’Connor for Hanmore (60).
St. Brigid’s: James Martin; Peter Domican, Brian Stack, Sean Trundle; Alan Daly, Pearse Frost, Paul McGrath (0-1); Mark Daly, Eddie Nolan; Robbie Dolan (0-1), Shane Cunnane (0-3, 2 45s, 1 free), Conor Gleeson (0-1); Ben O’Carroll (0-4), Bobby Nugent, Ciaran Sugrue (0-1). Subs: Padraig Kelly for M. Daly (39), Brian Derwin (0-1) for Nugent (42), Conor Hand for Gleeson (43), Martin Nolan for Frost (52).
Referee: Paddy Neilan.