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brigid's b oys SWEEP THE BOARD

IN the 2011 Evening Herald/Dublin Bus Dubs Stars football nominations, St Brigid's are leaders of the pack.

In winning the county championship for the second time, they earned the right to call themselves 'The Comeback Kids'.

Two years ago they were relegated to Division 2 of the league. But Brigid's soon turned the setback to gold. They sprinted back to Division 1 and also found themselves in the county final.

They put up a fine show against Kilmacud, but they came back this year to complete the job.

It has been a remarkable renaissance. And they did it the hard way. They beat some of the show-stoppers along the route -- Na Fianna, Crokes, 'Boden, Ballymun and Plunkett's.

And now they have no fewer that 14 players included in the Dubs Stars mix.

They include the Cahill collection -- brothers, Barry and Mark, and cousin, Martin.

Barry Cahill captured the essence of their effort. He was majestic in the final. His industry set the tone.

And when it was all over, his thoughts returned to all the volunteers that make life hum in Russell Park.

Even in his hour of glory, Barry was reflecting on the big picture. And that's what makes him the champion he is.

The Dublin captain, Bryan Cullen, showed the same attitude this term. In the midst of all the Dublin celebrations, he still made the time to coach his juvenile team at Skerries Harps.

With such a refreshing approach, as demonstrated by the firm of Cahill and Cullen, it's no wonder that Sam will be spending Christmas under the Grafton Street lights.

The final mightn't have lit up everybody's Christmas tree, but it was a match in the true sense of the word.

There was nothing in it. It came down to inches. Everybody said Gavin Kane's heroic block on Alan Brogan decided it.

That has been the type of grit Brigid's have been showing since they lost their opener to Templeogue Synge Street.

Then there was the quality of their skipper, Shane Supple, an outstanding goalkeeper. And the composure of Lorcan McCarthy who stepped out straight of the shower to sign the cheque.

Graham Norton was his consistent, cultured self in a resilient rearguard that also boasted the calibre of young Seán Murray and Conor Moran.

John O'Loughlin is among the midfield nominations. The Laois Lion also made the Dubs Stars hurling nominations last week.

The Brigid's Bakery is built from the back, but the side also contains a cluster of noted attackers that don't have to be offered a second invitation to have a pop at the target.



Tingle

Paddy Andrews is always a handful for any opposition. The left peg of Ken Darcy continues to charm, while Gavin McIntyre and Philly Ryan can also make the cash register tingle.

Late on in the final, Brigid's made the best use of whatever crumbs came their way. And in true gold medal style, they sprinted for home on the last bend.

Plunkett's had remained unbeaten until the final. Like in 2008 when they lost after a replay to Kilmacud, they had come so close to their first title.

But Mick Galvin didn't dilute his post-match judgement. "We didn't score enough. It was as simple as that."

Mick played for the club. And Plunkett's is also deep in the fabric of a noble footballer like David Matthews. Ross McConnell showed what a top midfielder he is.

Plunkett's were given a rattle by Lucan in the semi-final. The Sars had two memorable O'Toole Park victories over Templeogue/SS and Thomas Davis.

Stephen O'Shaughnessy enjoyed a marvellous tournament. He was spreading the play like butter and jam, his left peg pinging the ball to every corner of the house.

Lucan played some bright football. Mick Bohan couldn't have asked for more. And it was the same with the Curraner.

His Ballymun boys had Brigid's on the floor in the semi-final. Their midfield duo of Brian McCullagh and Davey Byrne was the inspiration for much of their work.

Tiernan Diamond is another chap that never spares the petrol, while sometimes you see more in a player when things are not going so well.

In a third round tie in Swords, the Larriers were on the boil against Ballinteer St John's. O'Toole's won comfortably.

Little went right for Ballinteer, but the quality of Johnny McNally was evident. The roof might have been coming in, but Johnny was still intent on wiring the house.



Wonderful

For many years, he has been one of the class acts of Dublin football. And a couple of years ago, also against O'Toole's, he produced a wonder performance at Ayrfield in a big senior football relegation clash.

That was one of the best individual displays seen for many a long day. Johnny covered more ground than the Croke Park lawn-mower, and, in the most testing of conditions, his use of the ball was superb.

That's the same type of conviction he brought to Lawless Memorial Park, even though this time the result on the score-board was different.

It was also at the home of Fingallians that Warren Finnegan's left foot cheered up the day. Fingal drew with 'Boden in a pulsating third-round encounter that was still level at the end of extra-time.

The fabulous Finnegan was in delightful form. It was an afternoon when his trusty, treasured left foot turned the euro into sterling.


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