A St Brigid's goal-fest, harvested against a chaotic Killererin defence which looked as if they had met each other for the first time just before the game, insulated St Brigid's against an inspirational performance by Padraic Joyce and kept the defending AIB Connacht football champions in line to retain their title at Tuam Stadium yesterday.
St Brigid's will meet Ballina Stephenites in the final on Sunday week and while yesterday's high-scoring victory will boost their confidence levels they also know that their attack won't encounter such accommodating opposition a second time. On the plus side, St Brigid's won't meet a forward of Padraic Joyce's quality either.
Joyce produced another man-of-the-match performance, scoring 1-9, 1-6 of which came from play, but he got very little support in attack and with the defence leaking at an alarming rate, not even his brilliance could save the Galway champions.
If Joyce illuminated a dry, overcast afternoon with his consistent excellence, David O'Connor had a day to remember too, scoring 2-3 from play and coming mighty close to landing two more goals.
However, the big difference between Joyce and O'Connor was in terms of those around them.
For long spells Joyce was a one-man forward line for Killererin whereas O'Connor got good support from Cathal McHugh and Senan Kilbride while Frankie Dolan, although nowhere as influential as might be expected, still showed some creative touches which complemented the impressive work of his full-forwards.
Midfielders, Mark O'Connell and Karol Mannion dominated for long spells and while the defence never came close to sorting out the Joyce question, they were well on top against the other Killererin forwards.
Killererin supporters couldn't possibly have envisaged the turmoil which lay ahead as they watched their side race into an 0-5 to 0-2 lead after 11 minutes.
The tactic was simplicity itself -- hoist as much high ball as possible into the two-man full-forward line (Joyce and his cousin Nicky) and watch the scoring deposits build up.
However, all changed in the 12th minute when a high ball floated into the Killererin square and, while goalkeeper Alan Keane had his giant frame underneath it, he will still beaten to the punch by O'Connor's well-timed flick.
Seven minutes later, Keane was beaten again after Frankie Dolan placed Cathal McHugh whose finish was crisp and precise.
And when McHugh was fouled in the square in the 28th minute, Mannion's powerfully struck penalty whizzed into the net to leave the Roscommon champions leading by 3-4 to 0-7 at half-time. Killererin needed to make progress early in the second half but, instead, it was St Brigid's who clipped over two points to give themselves a comfortable cushion that would sustain them all the way to the finish.
O'Connor's second goal in the 47th minute put St Brigid's 4-7 to 0-10 clear but in fairness to Killererin, they dug in a desperate effort to save the day.
Inevitably, it was Joyce who gave them some hope when he escaped the clutches of a posse of markers to fire home a superb goal in the 48th minute but it was to be as close as they got and St Brigid's out-scored their flagging rivals 0-3 to 0-1 over the final 10 minutes of the game. It really was a most satisfactory day for St Brigid's, managed by former Galway All-Ireland hurling medal winner, Anthony Cunningham, who have clearly retained their edge and their ambition as they pursue the Connacht two-in-a-row.
As for Killererin, they will no doubt be pleased with their Galway triumph but deeply disappointed that their defensive resistance turned out so poor yesterday.
Scorers -- St Brigid's: D O'Connor 2-3, F Dolan 0-4 (4f), Cathal McHugh, K Mannion (pen) 1-0 each, J Tiernan, S Kilbride, B O'Brien 0-1 each.
Killererin: P Joyce 1-9 (0-3f), N Joyce, J Keane 0-1 each.
St.Brigid's -- S Curran; E Ruane, D Donnelly, R Kelly; P Domican, G Aherne, N Grehan; M O'Carroll, K Mannion; J Tiernan, F Dolan, G Dolan; D O' Connor, S Kilbride, C McHugh. Subs: B O'Brien for G Dolan (49), J Martin for Curran (52), P Kilcommins for Cathal McHugh (56), Conor McHugh for O'Connor (59), E Mannion for Aherne (62).
Killererin -- A Keane; D Flaherty, M Mitchell, D Kelly; I Reddington, T Joyce, S Mannion; T Hughes, M Keane; J Keane, P Joyce, T Flynn; S Hughes, N Joyce, T Fahy. Subs: T Wilson for Keane (58).
Ref -- M Duffy (Sligo).