Wayward finishing proves costly for St Vincent's
AIB Leinster Club JFC - St Brigid's (OY) 2-7 St Vincent's 0-9
Wayward finishing proved St Vincent's Achilles' heel in their first ever taste of provincial action in the Leinster JFC at O'Connor Park, Tullamore last Saturday.
It proved a red letter day for the ambitious Ardcath club but just like the recent junior final it was a case of what might have been as a rousing second half display came up marginally short.
The losers hit 14 wides over the hour and also dropped a number of efforts short of the target and that was one of the main reasons for their defeat.
In essence this game was won and lost in the opening half, at the end of which the hosts led 2-4 to 0-1.
St Vincent's demonstrated admirable spirit as they attempted to retrieve the game but on this occasion they had left themselves with too much ground to make up.
There were similarities to the junior semi-final clash with Carnaross when St Vincent's also only managed a single point in the opening half before wiping out an eight point deficit to emerge victors.
The main difference on this occasion however was that the Meath side weren't nearly as prolific in front of the posts.
Nerves on the big stage probably played a role, especially in the opening half for this mainly youthful St Vincent's outfit. They found it difficult to settle into a rhythm and were well short of what they are capable of.
However they didn't let their frustrations get the better of them as they performed much better in what was a hugely improved second half display.
Nigel Hand scored St Vincent's only point of the opening half during which they racked up 10 wides.
St Brigid's on the other hand had no such problems in front of the post and they tallied just four wides over the hour.
Both of their goals had a hint of good fortune but they were executed perfectly and proved real body blows for the visitors.
The opening goal arrived on 16 minutes when a effort from Bob Troy was blocked but not held by keeper Evan O'Connor and Alan Scally pounced to finish the rebound to the net.
David Egan, Eunan Lawlor and Dan Molloy had earlier clipped over points for the Croghan men.
There second goal arrived four minutes after the first with an effort from Scally hitting the angle of the crossbar and the post before failing perfectly for David Egan who rattled the net.
That left it 2-3 to 0-1 and suddenly St Vincent's were facing a mammoth task.
After making a few changes in personnel St Vincent's were much better throughout the second half. Veteran Tommy Field converted three frees including one great effort from long range.
Substitutes Eoghan Corry and Robbie Lynch added pace in attack and suddenly St Vincent's had become a much more potent force.
Nigel Hand added two further points and by the 47th minute St Vincent's had outscored their opponents six points to one in the second half.
Both Corry and Lynch got on the scoreboard while Niall Tallon also got forward to kick a point.
However the home side managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over and they held out for a deserved win.
The season is still far from over for Ronan Kearns side as they have a Tailteann Cup decider against Carnaross to look forward to as well as a B league decider.
ST VINCENT'S: Evan Connor; Ciaran Brangan, Davy Tallon, John Corry; Dan Murphy, Niall Tallon 0-1, Barry O'Sullivan; Robert Tallon, Mark Crawley; Shane O'Brien, Patrick Arnold, Nigel Hand 0-3 (2f); Richie O'Sullivan, Tommy Field 0-3f, Leo Corry. Subs: Eoghan Corry (0-1) for Arnold (h/t), Patrick McGill for R O'Sullivan, Robbie Lynch 0-1 for L Corry (both 35), Jack Byrne for O'Brien (42), Martin Fox for Crawley, David Corry for O'Sullivan (56).
ST BRIGID'S: L Fox; R Hoey, A Kennedy, G Hannon; L Cocoman, C Donohoe S Hannon; T Mooney, D Molloy 0-2; A Scally 1-1, J Quinn, D Boland; B Troy, D Egan 1-4, E Lawlor. Subs: D Hannon for Boland (45), E Grogan for Quinn (52).
REF: Stephen Johnson (Louth).