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Emmet Kelly, Padraig Pearses, and Darragh Sheehy, St Brigid's during the Roscommon SFC Final at Dr Hyde Park.
Emmet Kelly, Padraig Pearses, and Darragh Sheehy, St Brigid's during the Roscommon SFC Final at Dr Hyde Park.

Roscommon SFC Final: St. Brigid's too good for Pearses

Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC Final

ST BRIGID’S 1-11 Pádraig Pearses 0-8

By Kevin Egan at Dr. Hyde Park

Another era of St. Brigid’s dominance could be on the horizon in Roscommon after the latest generation of Kiltoom stars reclaimed the Fahey Cup thanks to a six-point win over Pádraig Pearses in this afternoon’s county final.

With seven players that featured in last year’s county U-20 final in the starting line-up, club stalwart Benny O’Brien – who was part of the management team when they won the All-Ireland club title seven years ago – would have been delighted to see the sun beaming down on Dr. Hyde Park, adding to the top of the ground conditions.

Yet the first half of the game was a dour affair, with both sides dropping plenty of men back into defensive cover and neither club willing to kick the ball into outnumbered inside forwards. St. Brigid’s, playing with the wind at their backs, kicked some majestic scores through Ruaidhrí Fallon and Gearóid Cunniffe, but Pearses found a reply each time, invariably through dead ball scores.

0-2 each at the water break became 0-3 each coming up to the 25-minute mark, when two sublime scores from Brian Derwin gave St. Brigid’s the first two-point lead of the game. Hubert Darcy picked off Pearses’ first point from play in first half injury time however, and at 0-5 to 0-4 behind with the wind set to blow at the backs in the second half, it was still far from a crisis for Pat Flanagan and the county champions.

But while the scoreboard wasn’t suggesting any huge problems, on the field they were struggling. Eddie Nolan and Brian Stack were controlling the midfield battle against Conor and Niall Daly, while Niall Carty’s hamstring injury and a general lack of form in the Pearses attack meant that scores were always likely to be hard found.

Once Brian Stack crashed in the game’s only goal after 41 minutes, coming late onto a flat handpass and letting his pace carry him past the last defender, St. Brigid’s had something to defend and were very much in the driving seat. Pearses continued to battle for every possession but they couldn’t get anything going up front while at the other end, teenage corner forwards Ben O’Carroll and Ciarán Sugrue each kicked scores to further stretch out the lead, further adding to the sense of belief that was surging through the young team.

The lack of form among the leaders on the Pearses side was exemplified when David Murray had a handpass robbed by Donnchadh Gately leading to Sugrue’s score, and by the end the men in red were reduced to hit and hope deliveries into the St. Brigid’s penalty area in a bid to try and salvage a miracle.

It didn’t come, and if this young St. Brigid’s team continues to develop as they have, this won’t be the first final where they surge across the finish line with plenty to spare.

Scorers for St. Brigid’s: Brian Derwin 0-4 (0-1f), Brian Stack 1-0, Ruaidhrí Fallon, Gearóid Cunniffe, Eddie Nolan, Ben O’Carroll, Ciarán Sugrue, Donnchadh Gately, Conor Gleeson 0-1 each. 

Scorers for Pádraig Pearses: Paul Carey 0-3f, Hubert Darcy 0-2, Emmet Kelly (’45), Conor Payne & Seán Ryan 0-1.

ST. BRIGID’S: James Martin; Pearse Frost, Darragh Sheehy, Peter Domican; Alan Daly, Ronan Stack, Paul McGrath; Brian Stack, Eddie Nolan; Eoin Sheehy, Gearóid Cunniffe, Rúaidhrí Fallon; Ben O’Carroll, Brian Derwin, Ciarán Sugrue. Subs: Donnchadh Gately for E Sheehy (48), Robbie Dolan for Cunniffe (51), Rúairí Smith for O’Carroll (56), Conor Gleeson for Sugrue (60), Eamon Cunnane for Derwin (60+5). 

PÁDRAIG PEARSES: Paul Whelan; Shane Carty, Anthony Butler, Gavin Downey; Shane Mulvey, Ronan Daly, David Murray; Conor Daly, Niall Daly; Lorcán Daly, Niall Carty, Paul Carey; Hubert Darcy, Emmet Kelly, Conor Payne. Subs: Charles Nevin for N Carty (42), Seán Ryan for Kelly (51).

Referee: Kevin Naughton (Clann na nGael).