LOCC Solicitors Intermediate Football Championship
St Brigid’s 1-15 Tir na Nog 1-09
By Geordie McGuckin
St Brigid’s claimed a place in the next phase of the Intermediate championship when they came from off the pace in the latter stages of their opening round encounter to gain victory over a gallant Tir na Nog at Glenavy on Sunday but Lady Luck surely lent a hand in the South Belfast men’s success.
The Whitehill men seemed to have done enough to secure passage when with the game clock ticking into added time they held a two point advantage. However that was all about to change in the concluding minutes as a sucker punch and a late goal concession from Peter Webb’s speculative lob slipped out of the net minder’s grasp and over the line to secure a St Brigid’s win that minutes earlier seemed highly unlikely.
St Brigid’s had sprinted away from the starting blocks in positive fashion and with the Randalstown men on the back foot from the outset the South Belfast outfit hit three points without reply in the opening phase.
John Blaney was the first to strike to raise white in the opening minute and when Ronan Mc Grady and Ben Sinnot followed their lead St Brigid’s looked good.
It took a while but Randalstown began to settle into things and Damien Hagan’s charges were abreast of the quick starting city side by the 12th minute as Pearse Sheerin directed back to back frees over the bar and a sweet Caoimhin Duffin delivery opened the way for young Ciaran Dobbin to add another.
St Brigid’s regained the lead in the 15th minute as place kicker Ronan Mc Grady directed a 40 metre free between the posts, but the South West side were to take a first time advantage just a couple of minutes later as Kevin Sheerin delivered to the back of the St Bridget’s net.
A superb pin point delivery from the impressive Darren Mc Cormick had opened the way for Ciaran Dobbin to strike for goal and although net minder Stephen Morrissey stood tall to deny the youngster, Kevin Sheerin collected the rebound to return the ball to its original target.
Barry Mc Cormick, Caomhinn Duffin and Ciaran Logan added points to the Tir na nÓg total but with Ronan Mc Grady and James Smith on target for St Brigid’s the Randalstown side led by 1-06 to 0-06 at the short blast.
St Brigid’s had introduced Antrim player Jack Dowling for second half duty and the big man surely signalled his arrival within a minute as he split the posts in stylish delivery within a few seconds of the restart.
The luckless Sean Duffin, who was soon to be forced out of the game with a suspected broken toe, replied in kind for the Whitehill men but St Brigid’s were about to hit a purple patch and added three points without reply to draw level by the end of the third quarter.
Wing half back Barry Mc Cormick, who impressed throughout, opened the way for Ciaran Mc Keown to stride in on target in the 46th minute and the Randalstown men were about to be given a hint that luck was not on their side as the centre forward’s wicked delivery, which looked net bound, found the underside of the crossbar and was turned around the post by the Saints defence.
Michael Dempsey came forward to send the resultant ‘45’ over the bar to put his side in front but as the youngster returned to his post he was unaware that ill luck was to follow in his footsteps.
The Randalstown men dominated as the second period progressed and they looked to be on their way to victory Pearse Sheerin’s point gave them a two point advantage entering injury time. The excellent Ronan Mc Grady pointed a free to cut St Brigid’s arrears to the minimum but still the task ahead for the Randalstown men was simple, retain possession and play down the clock.
Unfortunately for the ‘ blues’ this was not to be and when St Brigid’s gained possession late in proceedings and a speculative lob sent on target by Peter Webb slipped out of the net custodians grasp the tie was turned on its head and the St Brigid’s men could not believe their luck.
The way to the next round which looked ‘mission impossible’ just a few seconds previous was an open door and when Peter Webb followed with a 64th minute point the deal was done as St Brigid’s ended on a 1-15 to 1-12 winning scoreline.
Stephen Morrissey, Finn Mc Kernan, Conor King, Niall George, Michael Cummings, Patrick Finnegan, Pater Lundy, Enda Clark, Cathal Conway, John Blaney (0-01), Ben Sinnot (0-01), Andrew Sweeney (0-01), Peter Webb (1-03), Ronan Mc Grady (0-06), James Smith (0-02).
Jack Dowling for F Mc Kernan
Ben Leonard for P Lundy
John Toner for J Smith
Ethan Carleton for N George
Tír na nÓg
Michael Dempsey (0-01), Barry Magee, Colm Duffin, Daniel Martin, Ciaran Logan (0-01), Caomhinn Duffin (0-02), Barry Mc Cormick (0-01), Christy Sheerin (0-01), Darren Mc Cormick, Sean Redmond, Ciaran Mc Keown, Pearse Sheerin (0-03), Sean Duffin (0-01), Ciaran Dobbin (0-01), Kevin Sheerin (1-00)
Ryan O’ Neill for C Logan
Gerard Martin for S Duffin
Dara Feagan for P Sheerin (black)
Referee Jarleth O’ Donnell (Con Magee’s)