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St Brigid's manager Benny O'Brien is preparing for another Roscommon SFC Final.
St Brigid's manager Benny O'Brien is preparing for another Roscommon SFC Final.

Benny O'Brien encouraged with Brigid's progress


By Cian O’Connell

Benny O’Brien knows all about St Brigid’s potential and pedigree.

That is why the 2020 campaign has brought so much joy with the emergence and development of an exciting crop of footballers providing real hope for the future.

Interest surrounds Sunday’s Roscommon SFC decider against holders Padraig Pearses. “There has been a lot of work done over the last number of years in the underage in the club,” O’Brien explains.

“We have produced really good quality players, who are starting to come through now. Over the season looking at the number of them we have been using eight or nine were Under 20 from last year. So we have a very young age profile with these guys.”

Ultimately it means that Brigid’s are relishing the opportunity to contest another county final. O’Brien has previously triumphed as a player and manager at this level.

“It has been really good, the quality of football has been excellent in it,” O’Brien says about a highly competitive Roscommon SFC.

“They bring with them a sense of enthusiasm and a bit of divilment too in that. They are almost on the crest of a wave. We didn't know how it would go and the first game was always going to be a test.

“They were going well in training and were they going to be able to stand up in the heat of Championship? They have done excellent throughout, they have been brilliant, and very easy to work with, great lads to manage.”

Benny O'Brien was a selector when St Brigid's claimed AIB All Ireland Club glory in 2013.
Benny O'Brien was a selector when St Brigid's claimed AIB All Ireland Club glory in 2013.

In a year like no other new challenges have been faced and embraced according to O’Brien. “We are just delighted to be back playing and the other thing that has suited us is that we are almost as if we are in a bit of a bubble,” O’Brien admits.

“You have no outside influences, no distractions, when you have a young team like that big crowds aren't at the matches, nobody is clapping them on the back telling them how good they are doing or how bad they are doing.

“So we can just focus on it, particularly when they are young lads, I think that has been a huge benefit to us.”

O’Brien has accumulated significant coaching and management experience in recent years outside of Roscommon. It enabled him to return to Brigid’s with a slightly different perspective.

“Everyday is a schoolday in management,” O’Brien stresses. “You are always learning as you go along, but you do see similar things cropping up.

"You see behavioural things, even stuff like patterns of play. I wouldn't be that set on a style of football, I'd look at the group of players I have, and then try to put a game plan together that would suit them.

“You don't panic at things, you don't fret over stuff. The more experienced you get you mellow a little bit too in that.

“It is all a learning curve, things will happen on Sunday, you will sit down after the game and think I wasn't expecting that, which is the beauty of the game.”