St. Brigid's 1-8 -
St. Dominic's 0-8
Sometimes, winning finals simply comes down to knowing how to get the job done. Brigid’s, boasting players with senior, Junior A and minor medals already in their back pockets during 2017, found a way to keep a spirited Dominic’s outfit at bay without ever reaching the heights they’re capable of during Sunday’s U-20 Division One final at Ballyforan. In a game lacking meaningful quality, it was all that was required.
Dominic’s, full of heart and endeavour, controlled more than enough possession to take a prized scalp. But the end product was often missing, especially in the second half when they desperately tried to reel in the pre-match favourites.
In the end, the Brigid’s faithful celebrated another major triumph. The senior, Junior A, minor, U-16 and now U-20 championship trophies will spend the winter around Kiltoom and Cam. The enormity attached to such a successful season will sink in over the coming weeks, painting a landscape that has very much thrown down the gauntlet to Brigid’s main rivals.
At least Dominic’s threw everything at Brigid’s here. A gutsy defensive display laid the platform for a tilt at victory. The problem was that, apart from Daire Keenan, they lacked a cutting edge in attack. Midfielder Michael McGloin and centre-back Eoin McCormack kicked some brilliant scores but it hinted that Dominic’s pathway towards a famous victory would be based around individual brilliance rather than the Knockcroghery-based side’s forwards getting the better of the St. Brigid’s backs.
To St. Dominic’s credit, they kept St. Brigid’s captain and main threat Brian Stack on the periphery for the most part. Stack did become more involved in the final ten minutes as Shane Curran’s side tried to close out the game. He picked up a black card in injury time when he hauled Brendan O’Meara to the turf to stop the Dominic’s wing-forward getting a clear run on goal. It was blatant case of “taking one for the team” and provided further evidence that Brigid’s paraded more cuteness in their bid to fall over the line.
Overall, the match lacked sustained passages of decent football. Both sides were guilty of making too many elementary errors. Yet it was noticeable that Dominic’s weren’t hanging back and they fought ferociously for everything.
Ciarán Sugrue and Daire Keenan swapped points inside the first ten minutes. A brilliant catch by midfielder Colm Murray set the wheels in motion for a move that ended with Keenan giving Dominic’s the lead in the 11th minute.
However, Brigid’s struck a decisive blow in the 16th minute when the otherwise flawless Michael McGloin failed to cut out a crossfield delivery from Keelan Byrne. The loose possession was snapped up by Gavin Byrne and he found the net, despite the best efforts of St. Dominic’s goalkeeper Conor Fallon.
Keelan Byrne and Derek Doyle added two frees apiece for their sides before Brigid’s wing-back Darren Carroll finished off a fine team move with a point in first-half injury time to hand his side a 1-4 to 0-4 interval lead.
A point from Donnchadh Gately a minute into the second half suggested that Brigid’s were going to move through the gears. But Dominic’s tenacity in the tackle didn’t allow their South Roscommon neighbours surge ahead. Instead a good, old-fashioned battle ensued that saw Dominic’s unable to erode the deficit to anything more than two points courtesy of a Keenan free and a terrific effort from McGloin.
Ciarán Sugrue managed to manufacture some space to bisect the posts from an acute angle in the 47th minute. A fine effort on the turn from Eoin McCormack left it 1-6 to 0-7 with three minutes remaining but Brian Stack gathered possession from the resultant kickout, allowing Keelan Byrne set up Sugrue for his third point of the afternoon.
Back came Dominic’s with another brilliant effort from McGloin but Jack McDonnell’s point with his cultured left boot in the 63rd minute confirmed Brigid’s as champions, despite some nervous moments late on.
Brigid’s trophy cabinet will be under pressure over the coming months. Who will stop them in 2018?
ST BRIGID’S: S. Smith; P. Frost, S. Furey, K. Connor; D. Carroll (0-1), C. McBrearty, G. O’Hara; E. Nolan, C. Murray; J. McDonnell (0-1), D. Gately (0-1), G. Byrne (1-0); C. Sugrue (0-3), B. Stack, K. Byrne (0-2, both frees). Subs used: B. Derwin for Nolan (40 mins), E. Minagh for McBrearty (51 mins), I. O’Rourke for Stack (60 mins, black card).
ST DOMINIC’S: C. Fallon; E. Connaughton, M. Feeley, R. Dempsey; R. Kilcline, E. McCormack (0-1), T. Doyle; M. McGloin (0-2), C. Murray; D. Byrne, D. Doyle (0-2, both frees), B. O’Meara; D. Keenan (0-3, one free), J. Murray, S. Kenny. Subs used: D. Gately for D. Doyle (half-time), K. Dockery for Kenny (36 mins), N. Watson for D. Byrne (47 mins), R. O’Beirne for Murray (58 mins).
Wides: St. Brigid’s – 7; St. Dominic’s – 10.
Yellow Cards: St. Brigid’s – none; St. Dominic’s – Watson (58 mins).
Black Cards: St. Brigid’s – Stack (60 mins); St. Dominic’s – none.
Red Cards: St. Brigid’s – none; St. Dominic’s – none.
Referee: A. Clogher.
Player of the Match: Michael McGloin (St. Dominic’s). No one tried harder to get St. Dominic’s back into proceedings over the hour. He recovered from the blow of losing possession for St. Brigid’s goal to take the game to the winners, especially in the second half. He kicked two fabulous points as well at a time when his side badly needed scores.
Ethan Connaughton, Eoin McCormack, Colm Murray, Brendan O’Meara and Daire Keenan were also prominent for St. Dominic’s.
Goalkeeper Seamus Smith, Darren Carroll, George O’Hara, Conor Murray, Jack McDonnell and Donnchadh Gately contributed to St. Brigid’s cause. Ciarán Sugrue’s eye for a score was rewarded with three crucial points from play.
*A minute’s silence was observed in memory of Brian Finneran before Sunday’s game.