Finnegan’s late strike seals victory for St Brigid’s

Under-20 Football Championship (semi-final)

St Brigid’s 3-03 Erin’s Own Cargin 0-09 (aet)

A 58th minute Niall Finnegan goal proved the key to open the door for ultimate success for St Brigid’s as his side came from three points in arrears to send the game into extra time in a great U20A football championship semi-final against Cargin at Musgrave Park.

With the final whistle imminent his late goal sent the game into extra time and the Musgrave Park side pushed on to finish three points ahead at the end of added time.

This looked the game of the day as St Brigid’s played hosts to Cargin on a damp Saturday at Musgrave Park and it was the home side who made the better start to proceedings.

Ronan Boyle, who impressed over the hour opened for the South Belfast side with a 3rd minute point and when Oisin McDonnell clipped a 30 metre free between the posts a few minutes later St. Brigid’s were two ahead.

Following a positive start the scores dried up for a time though both sides had chances to add to their tally and Cargin did come close to finding the net but St Brigid’s net minder Declan Heery stood tall to make an excellent save to deny Benen Kelly in the 20th minute.

Cargin net minder Shea Laverty came forward to despatch the resultant ‘45’ between the posts and when Conhuir Johnston gathered the resultant kick out to return between the posts the visitors were 0-03 to 0-01 ahead.

Both sides had opportunities to increase their tallies in the latter stages of a disappointing opening half and at the short whistle the visitors held a 0-03 to 0-01 advantage.

St Brigid’s started the second half with an early score as Ronan Boyle added a 34th minute point to reduce the deficit and when the impressive wing forward added another from 40 metres, a few minute later the Musgrave side had drawn level.

Cargin opened their second half account when Conan Johnston and Eunan Quinn combined to open the way for Conhuir Johnston to spit the posts and regain the lead.

The Cargin defence in which Conan Johnston and Ben McLarnon excelled, were well on top at this stage and it was McLarnon’s interception and distribution that opened the door for his full back to finish between the posts and ensure a 0-05 to 0-03 lead.

Cargin looked to be gaining the upper hand as the game approached the latter stages and when Shea Laverty came forward to send another long range free between the posts the visitors looked destined to claim a final berth.

St Brigid’s came back strongly in the closing stages however and gained reward as corner back Niall Finnegan gathered a wayward clearance and finished to the back of the net.

A cruel blow to a Cargin defensive unit who had impressed throughout but the defender grabbed the opportunity to leave it 1-03 to 0-06 at the end of the alotted 60 minutes.

On the restart it was Cargin who were first to open their account with back to back points from Conhuir Johnston and they looked to be back in the ascendancy.

St Brigid’s once again found a response however as the first half of extra time drew to a close and Donal Bradley was first to react to a cross field delivery to fire to the net and put St. Brigid’s 2-03 to 0-08 ahead as the half time whistle sounded.

It was still anybody’s game as the second half of extra time got under way but St. Brigids struck a vital blow in the opening minute when Conan Mc Nicholl reacted first to punish a mistake in the Cargin defence to fire home and put his side four ahead.

‘Goals win games’ is the old adage and with three in the bag St Brigid’s were in control and despite a big effort from the visitors the damage had been done.

Cargin’s final score came from an excellent Ben McLarnon point to ensure only a score separated the sides but that was as close as the visitors got and it is St. Brigid’s who now go forward to meet Moneyglass in next weekend’s final where they will probably start as favourites.

St Brigid’s: Declan Heery, Donal Harrison, Joe Mc Cartney, Niall Finnegan (1-00), Conor Logue, Reuben Carleton, Cathal Maguire, Jack Logue, Donal Bradley (1-00), Ronan Boyle (0-02), Conan Mc Nicholl (1-00), Oisin Mc Donnell (0-01), Toirleach Brolly, Lorcan Burns.

Subs: Thomas Lloyd for L Burns

Matthew Small for J Logue

Niall Duffy for O Mc Donnell

Cargin: Shea Laverty (0-02), Caoimhinn 0’ Boyle, Conan Johnston (0-01), Hugh O’ Donnell, Ciaran Mc Peake, Ben Mc Larnon (0-01), Odhran Molloy, Eunan Quinn, Cahir O’ Boyle (0-01), Conhuir Johnston (0-04), Cian Scullion, PJ Quinn, Tom Shivers (0-01) Paudie Mc Laughlin

Subs: Cahir Donnelly for H 0’ Donnell, Diarmuid Quinn for C Scullion, Conan Kennedy for PJ Quinn

Referee: Ray Matthews (Rossa)

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