St Brigid’s on track again

Salthill/Knocknacarra 0-8 St Brigid’s 0-15

They have won six of the last eight Roscommon county titles and the battle-hardened experience picked up along the way is serving the Kiltoom club well.

A tough defence which has conceded just one goal in eight championship games this season — none in the last six — is providing a strong platform and up front they have the ability to win frees and, more importantly, convert them from either side by Senan Kilbride and Frankie Dolan.

And with Karol Mannion excellent in midfield, St Brigid’s just had too many aces for a Salthill/Knocknacarra side who lined out without former Roscommon captain Gary Cox and then suffered another massive blow when key attacker Seamie Crowe limped off after just six minutes at Pearse Stadium.

The sides were level three times in the opening ten minutes but then St Brigid’s got on top in midfield and Kilbride kick-started a five-point run for the holders. Amstrong reduced the deficit with a free before the break as Brigid’s led by 0-8 to 0-4 at the interval having played with the breeze.

Significantly, though, they hit three points without reply directly after the restart with Dolan, Kilbride and wing-back Damien Kelleher finding the range.

“I though the first ten or 15 minutes of the second half was the key,” said Brigid’s manager Kevin McStay.

“We upped it a good bit and we got the scores.”

Armstrong gave the 2006 All-Ireland champions some hope with three splendid points – a free from either touchline and a battling score from play – but they needed a goal and never looked like getting it.

Brigid’s took control in the closing stages with veterab Dolan punishing Salthill with some excellent frees as they set up a Connacht final meeting with Ballaghderreen.

Scorers for St Brigid’s: F Dolan 0-6 (5fs, 1 45), S Kilbride 0-5 (3fs), N Grehan, G Dolan, D Kelleher, D Donnelly 0-1.

Scorers for Salthill/Knocknacarra: S Armstrong 0-5 (3fs), T Burke, E O’Mahony (f), D Tierney 0-1 each.

ST BRIGID’S: S Curran; R Stack, P Domican, J Murray; D Kelleher, D Donnelly, N Grehan; K Mannion, I Kilbride; G Cunniffe, G Dolan, E Sheedy; S Kilbride, F Dolan, R Blaine.

Subs: D Sheehy for G Dolan (46), D Dolan for Blaine (54), Cathal McHugh for Grehan (54), Conor McHugh for Cunniffe (61).

SALTHILL/KNOCKNACARRA: C Connolly; C Begley, F Hanley, K Conlon; C Halloran, G Canavan, D O’Flaherty; D Tierney, J Boylan; A Kerins, S Armstrong, C Healy; S Crowe, B Conlon, T Burke.

Subs: E O’Mahony for Crowe (6), S Gavin for O’Mahony (41), R Conlon for Burke (56), G Ó Leidhinn for O’Flaherty (61), B Malone for B Conlon (61).

Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo).

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