AIB Connacht Club SFC: Brigid's survive late Mohill surge
AIB Connacht Club SFC Semi-Final
St Brigid's 1-7 Mohill 0-8
By Kevin Egan at Dr Hyde Park
A stuttering, hesitant finish from St. Brigid’s almost allowed Mohill to snatch a most unlikely victory at Dr. Hyde Park this afternoon, but the Roscommon champions just about held on to secure a place in the AIB Connacht senior final alongside Corofin next month.
Despite the low scoring, the contest followed a script that would have suited the home side perfectly over the first 50 minutes. Mohill played with the aid of a strong breeze in the first half and some impressive early points from Keith Beirne gave their travelling supporters something to shout about, even if St. Brigid’s did a good job of holding possession for long spells and winding down the clock.
Mohill led by the odd point in five when they were hit with a hammer blow in the shape of a black card for intercounty midfielder Domhnaill Flynn after 16 minutes, but the period when he was off the pitch proved uneventful, with both sides seemingly happy to keep ball in hand and play around the fringes of the opposition defence.
Jordan Reynolds squeezed over a point from a tight angle before Ben O’Carroll replied with a free in the closing minutes of the first half, but such was the strength of the breeze that it was St. Brigid’s who would have been marginally the happier team at the interval.
With Cormac Sheehy directing kickouts very well and Mohill struggling to create and convert chances into the breeze, St. Brigid’s were comfortably the better team in the second half, even allowing for their poor accuracy. Four of their first five shots of the second half went astray with Ronan Stack the only one to hit the target, but they looked to have established a winning position when Brian Derwin fisted the ball over the bar from close range and then they scored the game’s only goal, Ciarán Sugrue applying the finish after a slick move up the pitch that started with Bobby Nugent fielding another laser-like kickout from Sheehy.
A majestic strike from Domhnaill Flynn in reply was Mohill’s first point of the second half but Brigid’s handled that setback well, and points in reply from John Cunningham and Bobby Nugent left them five points up with ten minutes to play.
Suddenly, the momentum of the contest shifted decisively, as Flynn and Conor Quinn took over at midfield, while an uncharacteristic element of chaos and panic crept into St. Brigid’s play.
Quinn found the target in the 56th minute, Ronan Kennedy finished off a spell of pinball close to the St. Brigid’s goal with a hooked kick to reduce the gap to a goal, and the stage was set for a dramatic finale when Keith Beirne struck his fourth point in the first minute of stoppage time.
Brian Stack’s emergence off the bench despite his injury last week was a sign of the nervousness of the St. Brigid’s side and the South Roscommon club had to deal with a couple of high balls into their full back line in the closing minutes, but none of those yielded the goal chance that Mohill needed to secure what would have been their first ever win in the Connacht senior club football championship.
Scorers for St. Brigid’s: Ciarán Sugrue 1-0, Bobby Nugent 0-3f, Ben O’Carroll 0-1f, Ronan Stack 0-1, Brian Derwin 0-1, John Cunningham 0-1.
Scorers for Mohill: Keith Beirne 0-4 (0-1f), Jordan Reynolds 0-1, Domhnaill Flynn 0-1, Conor Quinn 0-1, Ronan Kennedy 0-1.
St Brigid’s: Cormac Sheehy; Luke Griselain, Seán Trundle, Pearse Frost; Ronan Stack, Alan Daly, Ruaidhrí Fallon; Eddie Nolan, Shane Cunnane; Robbie Dolan, Paul McGrath, Conor Hand; Ben O’Carroll, Ciarán Sugrue, Bobby Nugent.
Subs: Brian Derwin for Trundle (half-time), John Cunningham for Hand (50), Mark Daly for Sugrue (56), Brian Stack for Nugent (60+4).
Mohill: Pádraig Tighe; James Mitchell, Seán Harkin, Ryan Bohan; David Mitchell, Shane Quinn, Alan Tuthill; Domhnaill Flynn, Conor Quinn; Ronan Gordon, Keith Beirne, Keith Keegan; Jordan Reynolds, Ronan Kennedy, Evan Harkin.
Subs: Alan Armstrong for D Mitchell (37), Éanna Madden for Gordon (41), Tadhg Mulligan for Harkin (51), Caillin Canning for Tuthill (51).
Referee: James Molloy (Galway).