An early red card for Cathal Compton and a strong performance from the St. Brigid’s bench were the key factors in tonight’s 0-14 to 1-7 win for the Kiltoom club against Strokestown, played at the home of the East Roscommon men.
Just five minutes were on the clock when Compton was dismissed by referee Brendan Healy for an off the ball striking offence and when points from Senan Kilbride and Gearóid Cunniffe helped push St. Brigid’s 0-5 to 0-2 clear, it looked like it might be a comfortable night for the favourites.
That all changed when Diarmuid McGann was fouled and David Neary slotted home the penalty, and with ten minutes gone in the second half the tie was finely poised, 0-9 to 1-6. The next two scores were shared as well, but in the closing stages St. Brigid’s powered on, with Brian Derwin (0-4) scoring well off the bench while Robbie Dolan, Eoin Sheehy, Jack McDonnell and Rúairí Smith also added energy and impetus to their play. With Strokestown tiring, the last four points of the game all went the way of the winning side, who are now assured of knockout football and will be in with a chance of topping the group going into the final round.
Strokestown’s championship prospects hang by a thread in contrast, as they need Elphin to get a result against Clann na nGael tomorrow evening and to then get a result against Clann themselves in a fortnight’s time.