students fail to stop blanch bus

Niall Scully


UCD 0-8

ST BRIGID'S night in Parnell Park. Into the last four of the Evening Herald Dublin Senior Football Championship.

There's just no stopping the Blanchardstown Express these days ... ... . in League or Championship.

They sailed through the AFL Division 2 as if they were cruising down the Mississippi, and now they are in the hat for tomorrow's semi-final draw.

It's a big improvement from last year's report card which saw them knocked out of the Championship in the fourth round and relegated from Division 1.

"It was a very enjoyable game. I thought it was a really good match," remarked Tom Quinn.

"We started very well, but we didn't take all our chances. Then we went out of it as UCD began to win plenty of possession around the middle of the field.

"I thought the tie was slipping away from us in the second half, but fair play to the lads. They got back into it, and they worked so hard for the victory.

Brigid's took command from the off. The Russell Park lads were showing quick feet and hands. Some of their movement from deep was very impressive. Defenders were getting the ball and bursting forward at pace.

Sean Murray was the chief engineer. He's so polished in possession. He was finding red shirts all evening.

Kevin Bonner flashed over the first two points of the hour. And Paddy Andrews got the pick of the bunch in the 18th minute.

He came to field the ball well with a defender on his shoulder, turned on a bottle top and floated the ball over the black spot. Precision.

Paddy's peach made it five points to one. Then came two straight red cards.

The umpires at the scoreboard end called referee, Keith Tighe. It was an off-the-ball incident. Brigid's full-back, Martin Cahill, and the UCD full-forward, Dan St Ledger were both dismissed.

That happened in the 23rd minute. The temperature changed after that. The students began to make an impact.

And it was five points to three at half-time, with Kevin McGourty and John O'Loughlin getting the last two points of the half.

The University lads had more about them after the tea. They were on the ball a lot more, testing and stretching the Brigid's defence.

Brigid's were ahead by seven points to four in the 38th minute, but from then on, it was nip and tuck all the way. With eight minutes left, John Heslin's strike saw UCD behind by a point. A minute later, Bonner sent over a critical reply.

The last couple of pages were compelling. UCD were on the charge and looking menacing. Heslin's 58th minute free saw just a point in it again.

Brigid's kept on their coat-tails the whole time, defending with purpose and not giving away any costly frees.

Every kick-out was crucial now. Brigid's were able to hold onto the ball when it mattered most.

The watch showed two minutes of additional time had been played. And then the last whistle blew. It must have sounded like Mozart to the Saints.

They had earned their showers. Both teams had.

SCORERS - St Brigid's: K Bonner 0-3, M Cahill (1f), K Darcy (2f) 0-2 each, P Ryan, Paddy Andrews 0-1 each. UCD: J O'Loughlin 0-3, J Heslin 0-2 (2f), K McGourty, C Kelly (f), D O Laorcain 0-1 each.

ST BRIGID'S: S Supple; A Daly, Martin Cahill, G Norton; C Moran, S Murray, G Kane; B Cahill, C Mullins; Mark Cahill, K Kilmurray, K Bonner; P Ryan, K Darcy, Paddy Andrews. Subs: Peadar Andrews for Kane (30); D O'Connor for Ryan (52); C Kilmurray for Moran (58); C Carr for Mullins (59).

UCD: R Farrell; P Kelly, C Forde, J Hayes; D Curran, S Redmond, J Fitzpatrick; S Brennan, J Heslin; J O'Loughlin, M McGowan, K McGourty; T Warburton, D St Ledger, C Kelly. Subs: D O Laorcain for Warburton (24); P Brady for Hayes (ht); S Nerney for Curran (35); R Mallon for Brady (42).

REF: K Tighe (St Anne's).