St Brigid’s battle back to secure reserve league

AC Reserve Football League Division 1 

St Brigid’s 2-12- 1-10 Gort na Mona 

Kevin Herron reports from Musgrave Park 

St Brigid’s secured the Reserve league title at Musgrave Park on Tuesday evening after coming from behind at the first water break to secure a 2-12-1-10 win over Gort na Mona. 

Having won all of their eight encounters a victory would mathematically make it impossible for nearest challengers Naomh Éanna to replace the hosts at the summit. 

But the form book went out the window within the first 60-seconds at Gort na Mona made a fast start. 

Ciaran Donnelly began an attacking move at the back and steered the ball to Sean Campbell who launched an early high ball into the danger area where Tim Scannell rose highest over James McKenna to fist the ball to the net and give Gort an early lead. 

The sides traded the next few scores as Peter Lundy engineered the initial response with a point for St Brigid’s only for Ciaran Scullion to set up Shay McStravick for a score at the other end. 

Gort goalkeeper Niall Monney did well to turn behind a low drive from Damian Magee, but the hosts found a point shortly after with a quick 45’ from Conor Taylor setting Peter Lundy away for his second point. 

Michael Brady hit back for the Turf Lodge side and another goal chance went abegging for St Brigid’s. Daragh Fox slipped the ball into the path of Marcus Lynch who dragged his effort wide of the post when a point may have been the better option. 

A Conor Taylor point made it a two-point game again, however Niall Melaney conjured up back-to-back scores. The first from a converted free and the second after Ciaran Scullion knocked the ball into his path and Melaney swung over a fine point. 

Conon McNicholl would convert a free of his own before the water-break as Gort lead 1-04-0-04. 

On 19 minutes parity was restored at Musgrave Park when Conor Taylor caught Gort napping with a quickly taken free towards Donal Harrison who found the run of Daragh Fox, Fox confidently made an angle for himself and swung in a shot that dipped over Niall Mooney and into the net to level at 1-04 apiece. 

The hosts grew in confidence thereafter and led for the first time through a Damian Magee point, Peter Lundy conjured up his third score of the half and then assisted in a point from goalscorer Fox. 

Having conceded 1-04 without reply, Aidan McDonagh took it upon himself to break the hosts momentum with a quick break up the pitch and a composed score to match. 

Damian Magee curled over a nice point in response with Melaney converting a second free of the half before the break as St Brigid’s led 1-08-1-06 at half-time. 

St Brigid’s increased their lead upon the games resumption with Conor Taylor combing with Peter Lundy who kicked his fourth point of proceedings. 

At the other end Tim Scannell was felled and Niall Melaney brought his own tally to 0-04 with his third free. 

Daragh Fox swung over an incredible point to inch his side three-points clear once again before two decisive opportunities would tilt the game. 

Gort na Mona had a fantastic chance to level after a fine move from Aidan McDonagh saw him close in on the target, McDonagh sent a low effort across the face of goal and Ciaran Scullion stabbed wide of the target. 

It was a chance that Gort na Mona would rue as St Brigid’s pulled clear at the other end. Ryan Muratgh was only on the field a matter of minutes after replacing Damian Magee and he made an instant impact with a thumping shot into the roof of the net to give his side a 2-10-1-07 lead. 

Caoimhin Beck hit a nice score in reply following an interchange with Padraic Mulvenna, though Murtagh replied with a point at the other end. 

Niall Melaney (free) and Thomas McGreevy hit back-to-back scores and closed the deficit to four-points with a few minutes remaining for a comeback. 

But St Brigid’s saw the game out with Conon McNicholl kicking his second free of the evening to ensure his side ran out 2-12-1-10 winners and secured the Division 1 reserve league- that was presented to them after the game by Antrim vice-chairman Brendan Toland. 

St Brigid’s: J McKenna, C Maguire, J McCarney, D Magee, T McCarney, S Campbell, D Harrison, N Lundy, C Slevin, D Fox (1-02), M Lynch, P Lundy (0-04), C Taylor (0-01), D Magee (0-02), C McNicholl (0-02f). Subs: M Smyth for D Harrison (37), R Murtagh (1-01) for D Magee (38), F McGarvey for P Lundy (55). 

Gort na Mona: N Mooney, B Chambers, C Healy, P Cournane, P Mulvenna, A McDonagh (0-01), S Campbell, C Donnelly, T Morton, M Brady (0-01), S McStravick (0-01), T McGreevy (0-01), T Scannell (1-00), C Scullion, N Melaney (0-05, 0-04f). Subs: C Lonan for T Morton (14), R Coleman for C Donnelly (26), C Beck for C Scullion (48). 

Referee: Gregory Walsh (Aghagallon)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.