Six of the best for brilliant Brigids

Bus Eireann U-21 FC Div. 1 Final St. Brigids          2-8 St. Aidans          1-5 St. Brigids’ claim to be the undisputed High Kings of Roscommon football was further strengthened in Kiltoom last Sunday when they won an unprecedented sixth Roscommon U-21 football championship division 1 title in a row against neighbours St. Aidans in what was a one-sided final played in appalling weather conditions.   The ice-cold rain, driven by galeforce winds, ensured that the conditions were almost impossible for players and it is great credit to both teams that at least they tried to play football on a day that was only suitable for a seat at the fireside.   Despite the six-point margin there was only one likely winner of this game from early on as  Brigids’ well-oiled machine were far too good for an Aidans team who battled away gamely but who just couldn’t match their neighbours’ cut and thrust, particularly up front, where   Cathal McHugh continues to show why he is a candidate for the club footballer of the year award, not alone in St. Brigids but throughout the county. Despite carrying an injury into the game the lethal corner-forward scored 1-5 and set up at least three other Brigids’ scores in another excellent performance.   Aidans were probably the better side in the first ten minutes but they couldn’t put the scores on the board and when Brigids got going there was only going to be one winner. Andy Higgins drove over a good Aidans point in the first minute but that was as good as it was going to get for the Ballyforan men. David Hoey and Cathal Daly were giving Aidans plenty of possession at midfield but several chances to score were spurned and Brigids defended stoutly. Those misses were to prove very costly later on.   Cathal McHugh equalised with a Brigids’ point in the 15th minute from a close-in free and two minutes later McHugh fired Brigids into the lead after he was fouled himself – but the best was yet to come from McHugh.   In the 20th minute Padraig Kelly did the spadework before passing to McHugh twenty metres from goal. He took the Aidans’ defence and goalkeeper Shane Gilligan totally by surprise with a delightful lob into the net for a brilliant goal, one of the best seen in club football in the county this season.   Ferdie Coyne did stop the rot for Aidans with a point in the 23rd minute but McHugh rattled over another great score in the 25th minute and he set up Gearoid Cunniffe for another lovely point in the 27th minute to leave it St.  Brigids 1-4 St. Aidans 0-4 at half-time.   In fairness to Aidans they started the second half well and Michael Connolly rattled the Brigids post in the first minute with a rasping shot. Instead of a two-point lead it was a six-point lead within thirty seconds as Brigids swept downfield with the ball for McHugh to blast over another great point.   Even worse was to follow for Aidans in the 8th minute because McHugh’s long delivery from a sideline ball was punched to the net by sub Darren Dolan – and now Brigids were now nine points up.   McHugh, Robbie Gilligan and Gearoid Cunniffe rattled over further Brigids’ points and with five minutes left it was 2-8 to 0-3. In fairness to Aidans they came with a late burst  and at least they put a degree of respectability on the scoreboard.   Michael Connolly fisted a good point in the 26th minute whiile Keith Waldron kicked a nice score in the 31st minute and in the 32nd minute Connolly’s persistence paid off when he drove home a good goal for Aidans. However the revival came too late and it was  Brigids’ day again.   This was another very good display by Brigids. On the day they were best served by the rampant Cathal McHugh and also by Kevin Toohey, Peter Domican, Gearoid Cunniffe, Leon O’Connor and Niall Grehan. For Aidans, Sean Higgins, David Hoey, Ferdie Coyle and Michael Connolly were best. St. Brigids: James Martin; Paddy Blaine, Kevin Toohey, David Nestor; Darragh Sheehy, Peter Domican, Vivian Clabby; Robert Gilligan (0-1), Killian Broughal; Gearoid Cunniffe (0-2), Conor McHugh, Padraig Kelly; Leon O’Connor, Cathal McHugh (1-5), Niall Grehan. Subs:  Darren Dolan (1-0) for O’Connor, Johnny Grehan for Kelly, Eoin Sheehy for Nestor, Cian McDonnell for Cathal McHugh, Sean Colgan for Conor McHugh.  St. Aidans: Shane Gilligan; Damien Miskell, James Coyle, James Donnelly; John Moran, Michael Kelly, Sean Higgins; Cathal Daly, David Hoey; Andy Higgins (0-1), Ferdie Coyne (0-2), Keith Waldron (0-1); Niall Corbett, Michael Connolly (1-1), Mark McLoughlin. Subs: Ronan McDonnell for Waldron, Kieran Dowd for Daly, Johnny Coyne for Ferdie Coyne. Referee: Ollie Kelly (St. Faithleachs).