Thursday 15 November 2018

Dolan magic inspires Brigid's four-in-a-row

St Brigid's 1-13 Western Gaels 0-9 - Roscommon SFC Final

St Brigid's captain Niall Grehan lifts the JJ Fahey Cup at Dr Hyde Park
St Brigid's captain Niall Grehan lifts the JJ Fahey Cup at Dr Hyde Park

St Brigid's completed a four-in-a-row in style by producing a polished second-half performance to see off Western Gaels at Dr Hyde Park.

Once more the genius of Frankie Dolan was the key ingredient in the defending All-Ireland champions' success. He ended up with 1-4 overall, bagging the match-winning goal in the 59th minute.

Brigid's had been below-par during their march to the final with successive one-point victories against St Faithleach's and Clann na nGael, but they upped the ante to suggest that they still have the desire to give the provincial and, perhaps, All-Ireland club championships another lash.

Western Gaels tried their best but they gave way to a superior side. Nineteen scoreless minutes in the second half didn't help their cause as the experience and poise of Benny O'Brien's side came to the fore

The opening 30 minutes was lively, illuminated by some flowing passages of football. Basic errors threatened to undermine Western Gaels' bid for honours but they kept in touch.

Redeployment

Kevin Higgins gave the underdogs a fine start, kicking a superb point from the right wing. But Brigid's reeled off three Frankie Dolan frees and an Eoin Sheehy point effort from distance.

Yet Western Gaels' feathers weren't ruffled. Cathal Cregg's redeployment to midfield upped their quota in the possession stakes. Two efforts from Derek Moran and a fisted point from Finbarr Cregg left the sides level, 0-4 apiece, after 19 minutes.

Karol Mannion fastened himself to the end of a flowing move involving Dolan and Gearoid Cunniffe before Cunniffe helped himself to his first point of the afternoon in the 21st minute. Oisin Ward levelled it up within two minutes of the restart but his side then entered that costly barren stretch.

Led by Mannion, Darragh Donnelly and Padraig Kelly, Brigid's regained the initiative at midfield and their crisper foot-passing engineered five points in succession. Cathal McHugh judged an effort from the left wing to perfection before Cunniffe found the target once more in the 38th minute.

Senan Kilbride tagged on a free before Niall McInerney and substitute Adrian Gleeson underlined Brigid's superiority with further scores.

Stephen Ryan registered a much-needed free for Western Gaels in the 51st minute. Then Ward reacted quickest to a Ryan free that dropped short to point, a chance that could just as easily have ended up in the back of the net.

From the resultant kick-out from Shane Curran, however, Brigid's showcased their class. Mannion fielded spectacularly in the middle of the field. The delivery to Kilbride was accurate. Kilbride set up Garvan Dolan and he transferred possession to his brother Frankie, who found the net with aplomb.

There was still time for Dolan to find the target from a '45' as Brigid's were confirmed as four-in-a-row kingpins in Roscommon for the first time.

SCORERS – St Brigid's: F Dolan 1-4 (3fs, 1 '45'), G Cunniffe, K Mannion 0-2 each, E Sheehy, C McHugh, N McInerney, S Kilbride (1f), A Gleeson 0-1 each. Western Gaels: D Moran (2fs), O Ward, K Higgins 0-2 each, F Cregg, S McDermott, S Ryan (f) 0-1 each.

ST BRIGID'S – S Curran; R Stack, D Donnelly, N Grehan; E Sheehy, G Aherne, N McInerney; K Mannion, M O'Carroll; P Kelly, G Dolan, G Cunniffe; F Dolan, S Kilbride, C McHugh. Subs: A Gleeson for Aherne (39), J Murray for McHugh (60), E Egan for Sheehy (60).

WESTERN GAELS – E Queenan; A Freyne, D Ward, T Mahon; B Creighton, C Cafferky, S McDermott; D McGarry, K Higgins; O Ward, D Moran, J McDonnell; S Ryan, C Cregg, F Cregg. Subs: N Murray for Ryan (29), U Mulleady for Moran (38), E Ryan for McDonnell (49), S Ryan for Murray (49).

REF – P Neilan

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