Thursday 19 October 2017

Nemo stunned by Brigid's lethal blend of firepower and resolve

St Brigid's 0-13
Nemo Rangers 1-8

Christy O'Connor at the Gaelic Grounds

Four years after losing a semi-final to Crossmaglen Rangers, St Brigid's finally made up for that disappointment on Saturday by advancing to their first All-Ireland club final.

A point down with just six minutes remaining, St Brigid's showcased the patience and resolve that had dug them out of a far more perilous position in the Connacht final against Killererin. They kicked three points in just three minutes before winding down the clock.

St Brigid's are known for their fortitude, but they had the greater firepower -- they had seven scorers from play, while Nemo's starting six forwards managed just two scores from play.

Overall, St Brigid's were the better team but the decisive moment was the sending off of Nemo midfielder David Niblock in the 36th minute on a second yellow card. Niblock wasn't having a significant influence but St Brigid's' extra man told because they finished with more fuel in the tank.

St Brigid's dominated possession in the first half, winning the kickout battle 15-4, but Nemo were showing supreme economy up front and the Roscommon side found themselves down by two points at the break.

It was easier to gain possession from kickouts with the breeze -- Nemo won that battle 12-5 in the second half -- but St Brigid's carried the ball more efficiently in the second half and once they got Senan Kilbride into the game, they had the game's match-winner. He kicked three fine points from play.

Nemo's goal in the 13th minute from Seán O'Brien gave them an early platform and they led by 1-4 to 0-5 at the break. St Brigid's were playing the extra man as an auxiliary centre-back and Nemo were struggling to get enough ball into their full-forward line in the second half.

St Brigid's led by two with eight minutes remaining but Nemo kicked three points in three minutes, two of which were excellent scores from Brian O'Regan and Alan Morgan.

Kilbride responded with an excellent score before wing-back Gearoid Cunniffe put St Brigid's ahead. Kilbride tacked on the insurance point from a free.

Nemo's disappointment was compounded when they lost corner-back Aidan O'Reilly to a straight red card in injury-time but they couldn't have any complaints. It was St Brigid's day.

Scorers -- St Brigid's: S Kilbride 0-6 (3f), F Dolan 0-2 (1f), I Kilride, G Cunniffe, D Dolan, K Mannion, E Sheehy 0-1 each. Nemo Rangers: J Masters 0-6 (5f), S O'Brien 1-0, B O'Regan, A Morgan 0-1 each.

St Brigids -- P Martin; R Kelly, D Donnelly, D Sheehy; I Kilbride, P Domican, G Cunniffe; G Dolan, K Mannion; D Dolan, Cathal McHugh E Sheehy (0-1); D O'Connor (S Kilbride, F Dolan. Subs: Conor McHugh for Cathal McHugh (17), D Kelleher for O'Connor (29).

Nemo Rangers -- B Morgan; C O'Shea, D Kavanagh, A O'Reilly; C O'Brien, B O'Regan, D Breen; D Niblock, P Morgan; A Cronin, P Kerigan, B O'Driscoll; J Masters, S O'Brien, D Kearney. Subs: D Mehigan for Kearney (37), W Morgan for O'Brien (46), A Morgan for O'Driscoll (52).

Ref -- E Kinsella (Laois).

Irish Independent

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