Blustery days sometimes define games and the Roscommon Senior Football Championship Final in Hyde Park, Roscommon on Sunday last proved to be one of those days. A generally young and inexperienced St. Faithleach’s Ballyleague team were taking on the vastly experienced St. Brigid’s Kiltoom side, who achieved the five-in-a-row in emphatic fashion.
St. Brigid’s had the wind in the first half and while it was St. Faithleach’s that needed the fast start it was St. Brigid’s that got it. St. Brigid’s put the pressure on launching high balls in on the St. Faithleach’s full-back-line which resulted in two 45’s which Frankie Dolan elegantly slotted over the bar.
Further despair befell St. Faithleach’s in the 7th minute when another long ball in was allowed to hop and Senan Kilbride tapped it down to the inrushing Frankie Dolan who dispatched the ball to the back of the net.
In the 8th minute St. Brigid’s full back Darragh Donnelly struck a long range point and his fellow defender Robbie Kelly followed up on a great save by St. Faithleach’s keeper Steve O’Connor to volley the ball over the bar.
Things were not looking good for St. Faithleach’s; Brigid’s were controlling the midfield area and closing down the danger men in the St. Faithleach’s attack.
In the 19th minute Frankie Dolan landed a long range point before Diarmuid Murtagh got St. Faithleach’s only score in the first half from a free in the 23rd minute. The deadly Dolan finished off the scoring in the first half with a point from play and one from a free, leaving his side 1-7 to 0-1 ahead at the break and St. Faithleach’s with a mountain to climb.
A feature of the first half was that only one of the vaunted St. Brigid’s attack scored with the other two scores coming from the full-back-line.
St. Faithleach’s started the second half brightly, scoring two points through Diarmuid Murtagh and David Rooney. But St. Brigid’s responded with Frankie Dolan scoring another free and Karol Mannion then came bursting through from midfield to strike over a point.
Aidan Dooney scored an excellent point for St. Faithleach’s before a Dolan free followed and then Senan Kilbride sprung to life, scoring a point and followed with a goal after an excellent interchange.
St. Faithleach’s continued to work hard in fighting a losing battle and were rewarded with an excellent point from Ciaran Murtagh and another from Aidan Dooney in the 46th minute, which proved to be St. Faithleach’s final score of the game. Frankie Dolan, before being substituted, tapped over a free in the 52nd minute.
St. Brigid’s scored a third goal in the 56th minute when substitute Darragh Blaine thundered a shot off the post which fell into the path of Senan Kilbride, who duly tapped the ball into an empty net.
While St. Brigid’s were the stronger side throughout they found it hard to score, apart from the lethal Frankie Dolan. A feature of the game was that for 44 minutes only one of the St. Brigid’s forwards scored and for the remainder of the match only one further forward scored. They will have to improve greatly if they want to re-emerge as serious contenders for provincial and All-Ireland honours.
ST. BRIGID’S: Shane Curran; Robbie Kelly 0-1, Darragh Donnelly 0-1, Niall McInerney; Ronan Stack, Ian Kilbride, Niall Grehan; Karol Mannion 0-1, Padraig Kelly; Adrian Gleeson, Frankie Dolan 1-8 (2 ‘45s, 4 frees), Eddie Egan; Cathal McHugh, Senan Kilbride 2-1, Paddy Mulvihill.
Subs:- Damien Kelleher for E Egan; Garvan Dolan for A Gleeson; Darren Dolan for P Mulvihill; Darragh Blaine for I Kilbride; Alan McInerney for F Dolan; Darragh Sheehy for R Kelly.
ST. FAITHLEACH’S: Steve O’Connor; Declan McCormack, Cathal Gunn, Derek Murray; Ciaran Brennan, Brian Murtagh, Kevin Farrell; Henry Kenny, Senan O’Grady; Darragh Hussey, Aidan Dooney 0-2, David Rooney 0-1 (‘45); Diarmuid Murtagh 0-2, frees, Ciaran Murtagh 0-2, Enda Kenny.
Subs:- Colin Gannon for D Hussey; John Mulryan Walsh for E Kenny; James Quigley for S O’Grady (black card).
Referee: Francie Keane (Michael Glaveys).