Hodson Bay Hotel SFC Group A
Western Gaels 1-16
St. Brigid’s 1-14
Points from Finbar Cregg and Tommy Gill in the 4th and 6th minutes of injury-time gave Western Gaels a narrow victory following this thrilling Group A game played at Frenchpark on Saturday afternoon. This was club football at its very best and those who were lucky enough to have been there saw a dramatic and heart-stopping spectacle packed with incident from the throw in.
Brigid’s welcomed back Shane Mannion, Niall McInerney. Cathal McHugh and Senan Kilbride and were much better than the side we saw against Boyle a week previously. In fact, they were unlucky to lose this game as they missed a couple of good goal chances and had a penalty (from Senan Kilbride) saved by Adrian Hardiman with 12 minutes to go.
There was never much between the teams in the opening half and it was score for score. Padraig Kelly was outstanding for Brigid’s and he kicked three super points in the opening period. Cathal and Finbar Cregg were also superb for the home side who were dealt a blow when Derek Moran had to retire with a nasty looking shoulder injury after 28 minutes. Western Gaels led by 0-9 to 0-7 at half-time.
Brigid’s were always dangerous and with Ian Kilbride, Peter Domican, Brian Stack, Senan Kilbride and Padraig Kelly all playing well, they levelled the scores at 0-11 each by the 39th minute. Another Cathal Cregg point (he scored five from play) edged the home side ahead before Finbar Cregg scored a fine team goal in the 45th minute.
But Brigid’s were never out of it. Ian Kilbride kicked a monster point a minute later and then, in the 48th minute, Senan Kilbride was fouled but his well hit penalty produced a super save from Adrian Hardiman. Another Cathal Cregg point opened up a four-point gap, but in the 54th minute Brigid’s were back in it after Senan Kilbride scrambled home a goal after sustained pressure. Stephen Ryan’s free from 30 metres extended the margin to two by the 58th minute for the home side.
In injury-time the thrills and spills continued. Cathal McHugh converted a free and then goalkeeper Shane Mannion’s ’45 levelled the scores at 1-14 each with three minutes of injury-time played,
But Western Gaels held their nerve. Finbar Cregg pointed a very difficult long-range free from out near the left hand sideline, and in the 6th minute of time added on, Tommy Gill’s point from 30 metres sealed a hard earned win for the Gaels.
This win will most likely guarantee Western Gaels a semi-final spot but ruling out St. Brigid’s would be very foolish as they are only going to improve as the weeks go on.
Western Gaels: Adrian Hardiman; Thomas Mahon, Aidan Dowd, Tommie Devine; Michael Higgins, Sean Conry, Ciaran Cafferky (0-1); Barry Creighton, Seanie McDermott; Niall Higgins, James McDonnell (0-1), Finbar Cregg (1-3, 1 free); Derek Moran (0-2, frees), Cathal Cregg (0-5), Kevin Higgins (0-2).
Subs: Tommy Gill (0-1) for Moran (29), Stephen Ryan (0-1) for N Higgins (46), Niall Murray for Creighton (55).
St. Brigid’s: Shane Mannion (0-1, ’45); Darragh Donnelly, Darragh Sheehy, Niall McInerney; Eoin Sheehy (0-1), Peter Domican, Johnny Murray; Garvan Dolan, Ian Kilbride (0-1); Cathal McHugh (0-3, 1 free), Ronan Stack, Padraig Kelly (0-4); Jack McDonnell (0-2, frees), Senan Kilbride (1-1, 1 free), Brian Stack. Subs: Conor McNiece (0-1) for Donnelly (28), Darren Dolan for McDonnell (h/t), Jack McDonnell for D Dolan (47), George O’Hara for Murray (48), Niall Grehan for E Sheehy (61).
Referee: P McTiernan (St. Ronan’s)