Dolan blows Gaels away to set up clinical St Brigid's for stroll in park
St Brigid's (Roscommon) 2-19 Melvin Gaels (Leitrim) 0-10
Connacht club SFC
Reigning champions St Brigid's displayed a ruthless streak to sweep aside the challenge of Melvin Gaels in Kiltoom.
Despite a poor performance in the opening 20 minutes, Kevin McStay's charges were clinical and purposeful to set up a mouthwatering semi-final against Salthill/Knocknacarra in two weeks' time.
Frankie Dolan did the damage in the opening half, scoring 0-7 before retiring with a groin injury at half-time. Senan Kilbride took up the mantle after the break, unselfishly bringing other players into the game as St Brigid's ran riot.
Emlyn Mulligan was at the heart of Melvin Gaels' effort, scoring 0-8 overall, but he had precious little help around him.
The underdogs carried the contest to the home side early on. Points from Dolan and Eoin Sheehy along with a brace of frees from Mulligan, left the contest delicately poised at 0-3 to 0-2 in Brigid's favour after nine minutes.
Then Melvin Gaels were awarded a penalty when St Brigid's full-back Darragh Donnelly was penalised for pushing Peter McGovern as both players contested Mulligan's lofted delivery from the left wing.
However, the otherwise flawless Mulligan drove his spot-kick high and wide to let Brigid's off the hook.
Melvin Gaels continued to probe, however, and another three Mulligan points left them 0-5 to 0-4 ahead after 20 minutes.
Brigid's responded with a strong finish to the opening half. Dolan and Kilbride were central to everything and eight unanswered points, including four in first-half injury-time, turned the game on its head, leaving the Kiltoom-based side 0-12 to 0-5 ahead at the interval.
Brigid's continued to pile on the pressure in the second half. Ian Kilbride, Richie Blaine and Darren Dolan added points from play before Kilbride squared the ball for substitute Eddie Egan to raise the green flag in the 41st minute.
Mulligan kept Melvin Gaels ticking over with a sideline and a couple of points from play, but his side's hopes had long since evaporated.
St Brigid's were relentless and a point from an acute angle by Egan was followed by the south Roscommon side's second goal when Gearoid Cunniffe blasted home.
SCORERS -- St Brigid's: F Dolan (4f, 1 '45') 0-7, E Sheehy 0-4, E Egan 1-1, G Cunnniffe 1-0, S Kilbride 0-2, I Kilbride, R Blaine, D Dolan, A McInerney, D Kelleher 0-1 each. Melvin Gaels: E Mulligan (3f, 1 sl) 0-8, S McGurrin, P McGurrin 0-1 each.
ST BRIGID'S -- S Curran; P Domican, D Donnelly, R Stack; D Kelleher, I Kilbride, N Grehan; K Mannion, G Aherne; G Cunniffe, D Dolan, E Sheehy; S Kilbride, F Dolan, C McHugh. Subs: R Blaine for McHugh (26), D Sheehy for F Dolan (h-t), E Egan for D Dolan (37), J Murray for Aherne (42), A McInerney for Grehan (51).
MELVIN GAELS -- G Phelan; S Clancy, F McMorrow, S Ryan; P McGurrin, P Brennan, D Clancy; S McGurrin, B Brennan; C Sheridan, E Mulligan, C McGowan; J Connolly, J Phelan, P McGovern. Subs: J McGuinness for P McGowan (35), C Regan for C McGowan (42), M McCarron for J Phelan (42), J Bredin for Connolly (44), A Tiffoney for Ryan (54).
REF -- M Duffy (Sligo).