St. Brigid’s completed a famous three in-a-row of AIB Connacht Club SFC titles as they got the better of Ballaghaderreen in today’s final in Castlebar.
Brigid’s became only the second club to achieve the feat, following in the footsteps of Roscommon’s Clan na nGael who won six successive provincial Championships in the 1980s.
The current Roscommon champions saw off Ballaghaderreen’s challenge on a 1-12 to 0-6 scoreline, with impressive forward Senan Kilbride scoring the only goal.
In foggy conditions, Bally Kelly pointed the Mayo title holders ahead in what was the club’s first senior provincial final appearance since 1972.
Ballaghaderreen scored 0-6 that day when going down to Fr. Griffins and they finished on the same tally this afternoon as they were undone by Brigid’s greater experience and firepower.
The game was still in the melting pot at half-time with the defending champions only 0-6 to 0-5 ahead.
Richard Blaine, Frankie Dolan and Kilbride were all on target for Brigid’s in the opening 30 minutes, while Ballagh’ closed out the half on firm footing thanks to scores from chief attacker Barry Regan and David Drake.
But substitute Darren Dolan and Ronan Stack got the scoreboard ticking over for the Roscommon men in a second period which they went on to dominate.
Kilbride’s goal was a killer strike for Ballagh’ and the same player clipped over the final point from a '45' as Brigid’s prevailed by a nine-point margin in the end.
Former Roscommon ace Frankie Dolan was a deserving winner of the man-of-the-match award, while goalkeeper Shane Curran earned his corn by denying James Kilcullen a certain goal in the dying minutes.
Meanwhile, Portlaoise and Ballymun Kickhams will contest the AIB Leinster Club SFC final at Cusack Park in Mullingar on Sunday, December 9.
Portlaoise ran out 1-11 to 2-5 winners over Longford’s Emmet Og Killoe in their semi-final clash at O’Moore Park this afternoon.
The Laois kingpins, who were last Leinster champions three years ago, were made to fight all the way by a battling Killoe outfit.
The underdogs grabbed a goal in each half with Ronan McGoldrick and Simon Kiernan both hitting the net.
Portlaoise started strongly and although they were 0-6 to 1-2 to the good at half-time, Emmet Og pulled ahead early in the second period.
Brian Smith and Kiernan exchanged goals, with the latter’s effort coming from a Cahir Healy defensive error, as Killoe went 2-4 to 1-6 ahead.
But Portlaoise reasserted themselves in a gripping conclusion as points from Adrian Kelly and Barry Fitzgerald saw them regain the lead. Brian McCormack added a late clincher to seal their progress into another provincial decider.
Ballymun Kickhams took a 1-8 to 0-5 verdict over Sarsfields of Kildare in the other semi-final showdown in Newbridge.
Ted Furman’s 50th-minute goal was the all-important score for the Dublin champions, whose only previous Leinster SFC final appearance was back in 1982.
Sarsfields were 0-5 to 0-2 down at half-time but successive points from Alan Smith, Padraig Brennan and Ray Cahill gave them hope of overhauling Kickhams.
Furman’s goal was replied to by another Cahill point, however Ballymun seized control in the closing stages to rifle over three rousing points from Shane Forde, Dean Rock and captain Davy Byrne.
AIB CONNACHT CLUB SFC FINAL:
St. Brigid’s (Roscommon) 1-12 Ballaghaderreen (Mayo) 0-6, Castlebar
AIB LEINSTER CLUB SFC SEMI-FINALS:
Portlaoise (Laois) 1-11 Emmet Og Killoe (Longford) 2-5, Portlaoise
Sarsfields (Kildare) 0-5 Ballymun Kickhams (Dublin) 1-8, Newbridge