AIB Connacht SFC Final: Brigid’s produce stunning display

December 3rd, 2023

AIB Connacht Senior Football Championship Final

ST. BRIGID’S       1-13

COROFIN            2-5

Kevin Egan at Dr. Hyde Park.

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A lockdown defensive display from Brian Stack and 1-07 from Ben O’Carroll at the other end of the pitch were the key ingredients for St. Brigid’s this afternoon as they recorded their fifth ever AIB Connacht senior club football title, and their first since 2012.

On that occasion, the Kiltoom and Cam club went on to win their one and only All-Ireland and they’ll be considered as strong contenders to do the same again this time around, based on the quality of this display.

The 1-6 to 1-2 interval lead for the Roscommon champions only served to flatter Corofin, who registered their goal through Liam Silke with the last play of the half to give themselves a lifeline.

A seven-point lead would have only been a fair reflection of St. Brigid’s dominance, which stemmed from their outstanding man on man defending in front of goal. Aside from Brian Stack taking control of his battle with Sice, Pearse Frost was outstanding up against Jack McCabe, who was man of the match in the semi-final between Corofin and Castlebar, while Robbie Dolan was also very effective on both sides of the ball, winning several turnovers.

The home supporters started to believe that a good day was in store when Ben O’Carroll fired in a penalty in the 12th minute, capitalising on a foul on Alan Daly by Bernard Power. Corofin replied with a thunderous shot from Conor Cunningham that crashed off the cross bar, following up with a couple of points to cut the five point lead to three, 1-2 to 0-2. However St. Brigid’s took over again in the second quarter, with O’Carroll adding most of their scores.

Silke’s goal gave Corofin cause for hope and they were rejuvenated after half-time, with Patrick Egan and Conor Cunningham playing well while Kieran Molloy gave them a jolt of energy off the bench. The Galway side were back within a point when after eight minutes of the second half a long spell of possession down the left ended with Michael Farragher setting up Dylan McHugh on the run, and the Corofin wing back duly added the final touch with a clever and accurate flick of the ball in the air.

That would have tested the resolve of many teams, but St. Brigid’s only got better from then on, and they added five of the next six points to establish a commanding lead once more. Brian Stack rounded off a stellar defensive display with a point of his own and another powerful run that set up a Ciarán Sugrue score, while O’Carroll and Ruaidhrí Fallon added further points from play to conclude a memorable afternoon for the South Roscommon side, who now advance to an All-Ireland semi-final clash with the Munster champions.

Scorers for St. Brigid’s: Ben O’Carroll 1-7 (1-0 pen, 0-4f), Bobby Nugent 0-3f, Brian Stack 0-1, Rúaidhrí Fallon 0-1, Ciarán Sugrue 0-1.

Scorers for Corofin: Liam Silke 1-0, Dylan McHugh 1-0, Jack McCabe 0-2, Gary Sice 0-2 (0-1f), Darragh Silke 0-1 45.

St Brigid’s: Cormac Sheehy; Robbie Dolan, Brian Stack, Pearse Frost; Ronan Stack, Alan Daly, Ruaidhrí Fallon; Eddie Nolan, Shane Cunnane; Bobby Nugent, Paul McGrath, Conor Hand; Ben O’Carroll, Brian Derwin, Ciarán Sugrue.

Subs: John Cunningham for Hand (51), Conor Gleeson for Derwin (57), Seán Trundle for McGrath (60+1)

Corofin: Bernard Power; Ross Mahon, Conor Cunningham, Liam Silke; Brian Cogger, Dylan McHugh, Gavin Burke; Patrick Egan, Ciarán Brady; Dylan Wall, Darragh Silke, Michael Farragher; Jack McCabe, Gary Sice, Micheál Lundy.  

Subs: Kieran Molloy for Wall (half-time), Conor Newell for D Silke (43), Daithí Burke for Farragher (48), Glen McHugh for Burke (53), Tony Gill for Egan (58)

Referee: Barry Judge (Sligo)

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