Two goals key to Brigid’s victory

King and Moffatt O’Rourke Cup (Senior Football League) Final
St. Brigid’s 2-13 Roscommon Gaels 1-14

St. Brigid’s finished the season with some silverware when they survived a late rally from Roscommon Gaels after a very entertaining league final played in perfect weather conditions in Kiltoom on Friday night last.

  It was an excellent victory for a seriously depleted St. Brigid’s side who will point to two goals before half-time as key to this victory.

  For Roscommon Gaels it was another disappointing defeat after a season that promised so much. They played some excellent football in the opening twenty minutes but once St. Brigid’s scored the two goals before half-time, their challenge disintegrated, and although they came with a late burst led by Kieran Kilcline, it was too little, too late.

  Brigid’s were more streetwise and Karol Mannion turned back the clock with an outstanding display at midfield. Not far behind him was Senan Kilbride, who kicked some superb points from play at crucial stages of the game.

  Against a weakened Brigid’s outfit, it looked like the Gaels would blow them away in the early stages as they raced into a 0-6 to 0-2 lead after twenty minutes. They were playing some excellent football, and points from Ollie Hannon, Enda Lannon, Bryan O’Gara, Brian Kelly, Scottie Oates and Kieran Kilcline were all from play. But Brigid’s got going after that, and by the 27th minute the gap was down to two (0-7 to 0-5), with Karol Mannion having an increasing influence on proceedings.

  Then the home side struck for two goals in two minutes that was to turn this final on it’s head. In the 28th minute Jack Cunningham fired home a super goal after good work from Senan Kilbride and Ronan Stack.

  A minute later Senan Kilbride swung over a trademark point from 35 meters out, and then on the stroke of half-time Roscommon Gaels goalkeeper James Fetherstone’s kick out went straight to Darragh Sheehy.

  He passed to Karol Mannion who was steaming through the middle and he made no mistake from close range, to leave the half-time score; St. Brigid’s 2-6 Roscommon Gaels 0-7. In the third quarter Brigid’s looked in little danger as Mannion and Senan Kilbride dominated proceedings and by the 45th minute they led by 2-11 to 0-9. In fairness to The Gaels they staged a late recovery and Kieran Kilcline was very prominent. He kicked a monster point from 50 meters in the 48th minute, and then a minute later he burst through the Brigid’s defence and fisted home a goal after his first effort struck the crossbar.

  But crucially Brigid’s struck back with two Jack McDonnell frees to give them breathing space, and with three minutes to go the gap was out to five again. It was The Gaels who finished stronger with points from Kilcline and two pointed frees from Cian Connolly but Brigid’s had done enough and they deserved to retain this title, which they also won in 2014.

St Brigid’s: Cormac Sheehy: Robbie Kelly, Niall McInerney (0-1), Conor McNiece; Niall Grehan, Ronan Stack, Paul Furey; Karol Mannion (1-2), Eamon Cunnane; David Cunniffe, Cathal McHugh (0-1,free), Darragh Sheehy; Conor Gleeson (0-1), Senan Kilbride (0-4, 1 free), Jack McDonnell (0-3). Subs: John Grehan for Furey (24), Jack Cunningham (1-1) for McHugh (29), Mark Daly for D Cunniffe (h-t), Darragh Donnelly for Gleeson (37), Martin Nolan for McDonnell (63).

Roscommon Gaels: James Fetherstone; Kevin Kilcline, John McManus, Liam McNeela; Kevin O’Gara, James McKeague, Paul Gleeson; James McDermott, Bryan O’Gara (0-1); Scott Oates (0-1), Brian Kelly (0-1), Ollie Hannon (0-2); Cian Connolly (0-4, 2 frees), Kieran Kilcline (1-3), Enda Lannon (0-2, 1 free). Subs: Mark Nally for Lannon (47), Cillian Egan for Hannon (47), Aidan Duignan for Kelly (57).

Referee: Ollie Kelly.

Man of the Match: Karol Mannion (St. Brigid’s)

For a Gaels side who played well only in patches Kieran Kilcline was far and away their best performer. Liam McNeela, John McManus, Scottie Oates and Kevin O’Gara also did well. For Brigid’s; Niall McInerney, Niall Grehan, Ronan Stack, Jack McDonnell and sub Jack Cunningham all did well. Senan Kilbride was outstanding at times and he kicked some mighty points but Karol Mannion was superb at midfield. After a slow start, he controlled the game and scored a goal and two points into the bargain.