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Brigid's leap to defence

ST BRIGID'S 1-14, TEMPLEOGUE SYNGE STREET 2-9 - You have to hand it to St Brigid's. Predictable they might be, but in a winning sort of way.

It's their trademark, a late dose of venom administered through the blunt point of a needle.

Last night before the tsunami arrived to Donnycarney, Templeogue Synge Street became the latest unwitting victims to the Blanchardstown rope-a-dope, fully believing they would upset the county champions and wholly deserving of the four-point 52nd-minute lead they were minding vigilantly and if anything, appeared more likely to expand upon.

The shock of the championship was becoming more and more like a reality and the Templeogue Synge Street contingent sensed it.

Nothing has defined Brigid's over the past 18 months or so more, however, than their ability to figure their way out of a tricky situation before it figures a way around them and, again, the familiarity of the fightback was almost haunting.

Taking matters into his own hands, Graham Norton galloped up the pitch and pegged back a point but still, it seemed as if only a goal would truly get Brigid's back to within swinging distance of the underdogs.

And then, up pops Barry Cahill (who else?) to slide just that very goal -- the timing of which has become something of a trademark itself for the Dublin veteran -- past Eamonn Spillane after a visionary pass from Paddy Andrews, the game's dominant player, following a high-wire run down the endline.

That was the score that took Brigid's into the lead for the first time since the second minute, the moment the awesome Andrews scored the match's opening point (the first of six) and, from there, the result was formulated upon predictable lines.

Ken Darcy landed a second monstrous free with his left boot and John O'Loughlin looped over the insurance with his fist, either side of Conor O'Reilly's Synger response.

It was in, almost every way, cruel and unusual punishment for Templeogue Synge Street.

They had almost everything going for them, particularly in the first half when Dublin's Eoghan O'Gara won the first four balls which found their way inside and kicked an early 1-1 as well as tellingly contributing to several other scores.

Seán Murray was moved back to contain O'Gara with marginally better results but Brigid's had to be vigilant elsewhere too.



Dazzled

Dublin minor All-Ireland winner of this year, Niall Scully, was a bundle of positive energy, as was Cathal Morley, who dazzled the Brigid's defence with his pacey, mazy running.

Which was all well and good for Synger but, in Andrews, Brigid's had a player who appeared capable of winning the game all on his own. New Dubs boss Jim Gavin, no doubt, was taking notes.

By half-time, he had scored five points as well as hitting the under side of the crossbar but besides a couple of typically robust fetches from Darcy, he was ploughing a lone furrow up front.

Brigid's needed Cahill's late renaissance, that of his midfield partner John O'Loughlin (0-3) and the introduction of Kevin Bonner before they looked like overhauling the deficit Synger had acquired just after half-time.

Nonetheless, it was level at the break even if it could have been far more favourable to the Templeogue men. Denis Bastick nearly broke the crossbar with a penalty after Morley was fouled by Conor Moran but the Dublin midfielder made amends 10 minutes into the second half.

A great flick on by O'Gara found Bastick on the run and he rounded Shane Supple before tapping into the net to open up a three-point lead.

Certainly, there was a question of over-carrying from Bastick but, Supple might have conceded a second penalty for an foul on the Synge Street invader.

Alan O'Brien added to the score to make it 2-7 to 0-9 but scoring just two more points in the match was never likely to be enough for Synger, particularly when Brigid's pulled their customary Houdini act late on.

Kilmacud Crokes are next up on Sunday (Parnell Park, 2.15), a clash to truly saviour but Brigid's can kill the time between now and then knowing they have rediscovered the best of their habits from last season's success.


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