St. Brigid's 1-16 -
Padraig Pearses 0-14
It was a repeat of the county final, but this result was far more clearcut long before the final whistle. St. Brigid’s were the better team at sun-drenched Johnstown on Sunday against a Pearses side that looked very disorganised at times.
County champions often tend to be slow starters, with one eye on the latter stages of the competition. But it would appear that Brigid’s are not taking that approach.
The county champions were superb in the opening 20 minutes. They cut Pearses open time after time. With Senan Kilbride pulling the strings in the forward line, the winners were on top at midfield and the defence was never under much pressure, a defence that saw the welcome return of Peter Domican. Overall, it was one-way traffic.
Frankie Dolan’s side were remarkably sharp for so early in the championship. They kept the play fast and open, and Pearses couldn’t cope, which was noteworthy given that they usually take a defensive approach.
That Pearses got back into the game later on was as much to do with Brigid’s dropping a gear as opposed to Pearses making a dramatic improvement.
Brigid’s weren’t at full strength. But when they were good, they were very good. Their handling skills were excellent, and they timed their runs brilliantly on several occasions to take a pass or set up a score. Pearses were sluggish, and were a yard off the pace in most areas of the pitch. Had Brigid’s managed to stay in top gear for a few minutes longer, they could have been well out of sight by half time.
The scoreboard read 1-3 to 0-0 after seven minutes. Brian Stack netted after three minutes after he collected an exquisite pass from Senan Kilbride. David Cunniffe was on fire in the first half and he had slotted over two points early on. Jack McDonnell pointed neatly on the turn to put six between the sides.
Shane Carty finally stopped the rot with Pearses’ opening point on ten minutes, but Brigid’s continued to dominate. A Kilbride free was followed by a Garvan Dolan effort from play after he collected his attempted free that came back off the post.
Brigid’s could have went nine clear on 25 minutes but McDonnell sent a penalty over the bar after goalkeeper Adam McManus had dragged down Cunniffe following a flowing move involving Kilbride and Padraig Kelly. At the other end, Ronan and Conor Daly combined to release the impressive Hubert Darcy, but his effort for a goal came back off the post. Two Darcy points (one free) left it 1-8 to 0-5 at half time.
The teams traded scores for the opening ten minutes of the half, with Brigid’s maintaining their advantage. On 39 minutes, Dolan fed Kilbride and raced on for the return before clipping over a delightful score.
With Darcy persistent up front, and Pearses playing much better, the second half was much more competitive. Pearses got back to within five points, but Kilbride and Eoin Sheehy pushed Brigid’s seven clear again.
In the final ten minutes, however, Pearses made greater headway. Seán Fahy lofted over his side’s tenth point before Ronan Daly broke forward for a good score. Moments later, Conor Payne found the target. Soon afterwards, Shane Mannion came to his side’s rescue to deny Leon Feehily a certain goal by making a point-black save.
Garvan Dolan soon followed with a free for Brigid’s but Pearses hadn’t thrown in the towel. With nothing to lose, they threw caution to the wind and played with a certain element of confidence when it seemed that the game was certainly lost. They delivered a couple of big hits and seemed to finally reach championship pace when only a few minutes of normal time remained.
A Fahy effort made it a four-point game again but then substitute Darragh Donnelly saw an effort fall short but it bounced over the bar. Fahy hit back again with a free but Padraig Kelly kicked Brigid’s five clear in the 65th minute, a score that proved to be the final one of the match.
- BRIGID’S: S. Mannion; S. Furey, N. McInerney, C. MacNiece; E. Sheehy (0-1), P. Domican, J. Murray; M. Daly, G. Dolan (0-3, one free); R. Stack, P. Kelly (0-1), B. Stack (1-0); J. McDonnell (0-3, 0-1, a penalty), S. Kilbride (0-4, three frees), D. Cunniffe (0-2). Subs used: G. Byrne (0-1) for Daly (33 mins, black card), C. McHugh for McDonnell (42 mins), D. Donnelly (0-1) for Kelly (51 mins), D. Dolan for Cunniffe (53 mins), P. Kelly for Domican (63 mins, black card).
PADRAIG PEARSES: A. McManus; S. Carty (0-1), D. Murray, S. Dolan; R. Daly (0-1), M. Richardson, C. Daly; E. Donoghue, A. Butler; C. Óg Sullivan, H. Darcy (0-6, three frees), T. Butler; S. Fahy (0-3, one free), C. Payne (0-2), E. Kelly. Subs used: L. Daly for A. Butler (27 mins), L. Feehily for Kelly (half-time), A. Feehily for Donoghue (41 mins), D. Glynn for T. Butler (43 mins)
Wides: St. Brigid’s – 7; Padraig Pearses – 11
Yellow Cards: St. Brigid’s – P. Kelly (42 mins); Padraig Pearses – A. McManus (25 mins)
Black Cards: St. Brigid’s – M. Daly (33 mins), P. Domican (63 mins); Padraig Pearses – none.
Red Cards: St. Brigid’s – none; Padraig Pearses – none.
Referee: K. Naughton.
Player of the Match: Garvan Dolan (St. Brigid’s). From start to finish, Dolan’s influence was massive. He kicked well, worked hard and was always in the thick of the action.
Senan Kilbride also excelled, demonstrating his class on several occasions. Eoin Sheehy, Jack McDonnell, Mark Daly and Shane Mannion also played well.
Hubert Darcy was Pearses’ best player. Seán Fahy, Ronan Daly and Aaron Feehily also tried hard.
*A minute’s silence was observed before the game in memory of the late Donie Shine and Pat Dennehy.