Saints do enough

Diarmuid Geraghty

REIGNING champions St Brigid's got the defence of their Dublin SFC title off to a winning start, with a hard-earned win over Thomas Davis at Parnell Park last night.


However, it's a victory that may have come at a price for both them and Dublin as Seán Murray looked to have picked up a bad shoulder injury in the opening half.

The final winning margin does not reflect the pattern of the game and it took a penalty from Brigid's goalkeeper Shane Supple 12 minutes from time to put the Russell Park men in the driving seat.

Up to Supple's intervention, the game remained very much in the balance.

Davis had opened superbly and were 0-5 to 0-1 ahead inside ten minutes.Two scores from Dublin U21 All-Ireland hero, Paul Hudson, sandwiched points from Seán Reilly, Ciarán Farrelly and a great solo effort by midfielder Shane McGrath.

Lorcan McCarthy got Brigid's off the mark but they struggled to get to grips with the pace of the Kiltipper men, in particular the inside duo of Reilly and Hudson.

Points from the influential Cian Mullins and a Ken Darcy free cut the deficit but Davis enjoyed another productive period when Hudson, Reilly and McGrath again added scores.

Brigid's finished the half strongly however. Dublin U21 Philly Ryan, Paddy Andrews and Barry Cahill all dissected the posts to bring them level, but a Hudson free gave Davis a narrow interval lead, 0-10 to 0-9.

Dublin senior star Cahill was moved to midfield at the start of the second half and he began to influence proceedings, helping to nullify the penetrative runs of McGrath and Eoin Kirby.

Mullins fired a loose ball over the bar soccer style to tie up the game within a minute of the restart.

The sides then traded scores before Cahill's second point gave Brigid's the lead for the first time in the 44th minute. McCarthy quickly added a free in what was a purple patch for the Dublin 15 men.

Three minutes later, the industrious Andrews got pulled down in front of goal as he was about to pull the trigger and Supple made the long trip up field to convert the penalty.

The goal came as a huge blow to the Davis men who now found themselves five points adrift (1-14 to 0-12). Declan Cawley and Hudson grabbed points but they never looked like they could get the goal their challenge needed.

Brigid's however, showed all their class by finishing strongly and points from Ken Darcy and Philly Ryan saw them home.

However, it was not all positive for Gerry McEntee's side, who now face Lucan Sarsfields, with Murray's shoulder injury before half-time a major for him and Dublin manger Pat Gilroy with their Leinster SFC opener just weeks away (Croke Park, June 3).

SCORERS - St Brigid's: K Darcy 0-5 (4f), P Ryan (1f), L McCarthy (3f) 0-4 each, S Supple 1-0 (1-0 pen), B Cahill, C Mullins 0-2 each, P Andrews 0-1. Thomas Davis: P Hudson 0-6 (5f), S McGrath 0-3, C Farrelly (1f), S Reilly 0-2 each, D Cawley 0-1.

ST BRIGID'S: S Supple; C Moran, G Norton, A McCarrick; A Daly, S Murray, G Kane; C Kilmurray, C Mullins; O McCann, L McCarthy, B Cahill; K Darcy, P Andrews, P Ryan. Subs: J Kelly for McCarrick (23), C Doyle for Murray (ht), D O'Connor for Darcy (57), C Slane for McCarthy (60)

THOMAS DAVIS: D Hennessy; B Kirby, D Shanahan, A Fallon; P Boland, S O'Connor, G Carruth; E Kirby, S McGrath; E Behan, C Farrelly, S McKeown; J O'Reilly, P Hudson, S Reilly. Subs: D Cawley for McKeown (33), J Owens for O'Reilly (51)

REF: G McCormack (Naomh Barróg).