Experience counts for St Brigid's
CONNACHT SFC SEMI-FINAL St Brigid's 0-15 Salthill/ Knocknacarra 0-8:Roscommon champions St Brigid’s remain on course for a third Connacht title in a row after using their experience to good effect at Pearse Stadium in Salthill.
Senan Kilbride, who has been a driving force for St Brigid’s all season, was superb and he hit five points, three of them frees, to steer them home .
And with veteran Frankie Dolan landing six from placed balls, the champions just had too much for a Salthill/Knocknacarra side who lined out without former Roscommon captain Gary Cox and then lost key forward Seamie Crowe after just six minutes. The Galway champions rallied in the second-half and three points from Seán Armstrong gave them some hope, but St Brigid’s finished strongly.
The sides were level three times in the opening 10 minutes but then St Brigid’s got on top in midfield and Kilbride kick-started a five-point run the holders. Armstrong 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 Damien Kelleher finding their range.
Armstrong gave the home crowd some hope with three splendid points – a free from either touchline and a battling score from play.
Brigid’s took control in the closing stages with Dolan punishing Salthill with some excellent frees as they set up a Connacht final meeting with Ballaghderreen.
ST BRIGID’S:S Curran; R Stack, P Domican, J Murray; D Kelleher (0-1), D Donnelly (0-1), N Grehan (0-1); K Mannion, I Kilbride; G Cunniffe, G Dolan (0-1), E Sheedy; S Kilbride (0-5 three frees), F Dolan (0-6, five frees, one 45), R Blaine. Subs: D Sheehy for G Dolan (46 mins), D Dolan for Blaine, Cathal McHugh for Grehan (both 54 mins), Conor McHugh for Cunniffe (61 mins).
SALTHILL/KNOCKNACARRA:C Connolly; C Begley, F Hanley, K Conlon; C Halloran, G Canavan, D O’Flaherty; D Tierney (0-1), J Boylan; A Kerins, S Armstrong (0-5, three frees), C Healy; S Crowe, B Conlon, T Burke (0-1). Subs: E O’Mahony (0-1, free) for Crowe (6 mins), S Gavin for O’Mahony (41 mins), R Conlon for Burke (56 mins), G Ó Leidhinn for O Flaherty, B Malone for B Conlon (both 61 mins).
Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo)