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Brigid's early firepower proves too much for Fulham Irish

St Brigid's booked their place in the last four with an eight-point victory over 14-man Fulham Irish at Ruislip.

The Roscommon and Connacht champions fired an unanswered 1-4 inside the opening 13 minutes, and the dismissal of midfielder Lorcan Mulvey late in the half killed off Fulham's hopes of causing a shock. The Londoners were blown away by St Brigid's blistering start, the visitors' high-pressure game forcing numerous turnovers. Senan Kilbride and Frankie Dolan both got off the mark early, before wing-back Niall Grehan pounced for a seventh-minute goal.

Garvan Dolan played in Cathal McHugh, who rounded the goalkeeper but saw his shot superbly blocked on the line by Iomar Barrett. However, Grehan was on hand to punch the rebound to the net.

Former Cavan midfielder Mulvey got Fulham up and running with two pointed frees, before Marty Hughes blazed over with the goal at his mercy, but Mulvey then received two yellow cards in as many minutes after altercations with Kilbride and Darren Dolan.

St Brigid's led by 1-5 to 0-3 at the break and used their spare man as a sweeper when playing against the wind in the second half.

Fulham kept battling, with Carlow's Patrick Walsh influential around midfield, but St Brigid's were comfortable, and were it not for some errant shooting their winning margin would have been even greater.

"We talked about (a good start) over the past two weeks, because in our last two games we were slow starting," said Frankie Dolan, who top-scored with four points.

"We pressurised them well in the first 15 minutes and got a few turnovers. We should have got a lot more scores -- we had silly wides and lads took the wrong options, which we wouldn't normally do."

Despite the win, Dolan knows they must raise their game if they are to defeat the Leinster champions and book back-to-back All-Ireland final appearances, saying:"It was a tricky game. Coming over to London, you don't know what to expect. We're back in an All-Ireland semi-final and we'll prepare well for February."

Scorers -- St Brigid's: F Dolan 0-4 (2f), C McHugh 0-3, N Grehan 1-0, S Kilbride (2f), D Dolan 0-2 each, P Domican 0-1. Fulham Irish: L Mulvey (2f), M Hughes 0-2 each, H Murphy (f), J Ryan, J Reilly 0-1 each.

St Brigid's -- J Martin; R Kelly, D Donnelly, D Sheehy; E Sheehy, P Domican, N Grehan; K Mannion, G Dolan; D Dolan, Cathal McHugh, G Cunniffe; I Kilbride, S Kilbride, F Dolan. Subs: D Kelleher for Kelly (45), J Murray for Cunniffe (55), Conor McHugh for Cathal McHugh (56), C Sheehy for S Kilbride (60).

Fulham Irish -- D Traynor; G O'Hare, C McClean, M Conway; A Savage, S Mulligan, J Boyce; L Mulvey, P Walsh; F McVey, N Nicholson, I Barrett; J Ryan, M Hughes, H Murphy. Subs: P McKernan for Nicholson (h-t), J Reilly for Savage (33), M McCaffrey for Boyce (42), Nicholson for Barrett (53).

Ref -- E Kinsella (Laois).

Irish Independent