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Brigid's prepare to spoil summer'

SUMMERHILL (Meath) v St BRIGID'S (Dublin), (Navan, Tomorrow 2.30)



THEY'VE had just seven days to celebrate and then park their second Dublin senior title, whereas Summerhill have been waiting in the long grass of Pairc Tailteann for the past month.

In other circumstances, this could constitute a major disadvantage for the newly crowned capital kings -- but St Brigid's, we suspect, may be different.

It probably helps that several of their most experienced campaigners have been down this provincial road before: winning a maiden Dublin title in 2003 would have been enough for many teams, but back then the Blanchardstown boys regrouped and went on to conquer Leinster.



MANAGEMENT

It also helps that Gerry McEntee -- part of the management set-up eight years ago -- is once more centrally involved as joint-boss. You will struggle to find a more driven football man anywhere in Dublin; the fact that this Meath legend is facing the champions of his own county will doubtless drive him on even more.

In some respects, their latest Parnell Park coronation was a mild surprise: St Oliver Plunkett's/ER, after all, boasted most of the marquee forward talent on view.

But Brigid's success has been built on the soundest of defensive foundations and, not for the first time this autumn, this proved a critical factor last Sunday, as they confined the Brogans et al to just eight points in a pretty attritional final.

Dublin panellist Sean Murray has been rightly name-checked for his shackling of Bernard Brogan, but others such as Graham Norton and Gavin Kane have been key men in defence too.

Dublin veteran Barry Cahill remains their most high-profile player, and he has followed up his long-awaited All-Ireland deliverance with some powerhouse displays.

Overall, though, Brigid's are not a collection of stars -- more a rock-solid team and this has been reflected in their march through Dublin -- eking out a 0-8 to 0-7 victory over reigning Leinster champions Kilmacud at the last-16 stage, then blitzing '09 champions Ballyboden St Enda's by 10 points, before surviving a titanic semi-final battle with Ballymun.

The Navan Road grapevine suggests that they certainly haven't overdone the celebrations, their focus now firmly fixed on Leinster.

At the start of the season, Summerhill weren't remotely fancied to claim a first Meath title since 1986, but they cut a dash through the knockout stages to reach the final game.

There, as favourites, they lived on their nerves in both the drawn decider with Dunshaughlin and the replay, when they required an injury-time point to force extra-time, where they prevailed. Without any Meath regulars in their starting 15, they will hope their team ethic, home advantage and the surprise element can swing an unlikely victory.

ODDS: Summerhill 14/5, Draw 9/1, St Brigid's 1/3

VERDICT: St Brigid's


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