Duffy double helps St Brigid’s secure a unique treble

Antrim U20 Football Championship final

St Brigid’s 2-8 St Ergnat’s, Moneyglass 0-9

A quick fire double by second half substitute Niall Duffy swung Saturday’s Under 20 A final firmly in the direction of St Brigid’s as the South Belfast side came back from two down at the break to beat a gallant Moneyglass side by five at Dunsilly.

Moneyglass made use of the wind in the opening half and were two to the good by half time. St Brigid’s had their chances in the opening half but shooting into the strong wind was difficult, and they also had a penalty saved by the St Ergnat’s netminder Rory Gribbon, who did well to deny St Brigid’s Reuben Carleton.

Despite facing the wind in the opening half St Brigid’s were first to open their account when corner forward Lorcan Burns slotted one over, but the Moneyglass boys hit back right away Conor McCann brought his side level. The see-saw nature of the game continued as a good run by the pacey McCormack set up Kevin McCann, who gave Moneyglass the lead, but once again the scores were tied as Ronan Bradley hit the target for the Belfast side.

When St Brigid’s went in front on eleven minutes with a point from Conan McNicholl the looked to be gaining the upper hand, but Moneyglass had the better of the second quarter (on the scoreboard) and Conor O’Kane brought them back on terms. Still St Brigid’s were having the Lions’ share of possession and when they were awarded a penalty five minutes before the break they must have felt they had made a major breakthrough, but Gribben produced a great save to deny Carleton.

Moneyglass made good use of the let-off and finished the half strongly with points from James McCormack from play and another McCann one from a free to go in at the break with a two point cushion.  

The introduction of Duffy at half time would soon pay dividends and after Oisin McDonnell set him up to palm home from close range, he added a second soon afterwards when the ball broke kindly for him after Donal Bradley’s shot had come back off the upright.

Toirealach Brolly pointed soon afterwards to stretch the St Brigid’s lead to five and it was out to six when McNicholl added a point from a free, but Moneyglass came close to cutting that deficit in half, only to see McCann’s shot turned out for a 45 by goalkeeper Declan Heery.

McCann came close again nearing the end of the third quarter when he broke through and sent a great shot inches over, and after Duffy missed a great chance of completing his hat-trick McCann took advantage to slot over two more points from frees to leave just a goal between the sides.

Moneyglass appeared to be right back in the game, but St Brigid’s kicked on again and great work by Rory Boyle sent McNicholl clear to add an excellent point to put the gap out to six. The excellent McCann kept plugging away at the other end for Moneyglass, and the right half forward grabbed another point, but St Brigid’s were in the driving seat and they secured the Under 20 A title to add to the Under 17 and Under 15 crowns they had won earlier this season.

ST BRIGID’S: D Heery; D Harrison, J McCarney, N Finnegan; C Logue, R Carleton, C Maguire; J Logue, D Bradley (0-1); R Boyle (0-1), C McNicholl (0-4, 1f, 1m), L Finnegan; O McDonnell, T Brolly (0-1), L Burns (0-1).

Subs: N Duffy (2-0) for L Finnegan (HT), T Lloyd for L Burns (43), R McErlean for T Brolly (45), T McKenna for O McDonnell (57), M Smyth for J McCarney (59).

MONEYGLASS: R Gribbin; S Totten, H O’Donnell, M Mullen; T McCormack, P Duffin, J McCormick (0-1); C O’kane (0-1), F Duffin; C McCann (0-6, 4f), S McIntosh, K McCann (0-1); C McCloskey, T Cassidy, S Madden.

Subs: S Boyd for C McCloskey (19), A McErlain for F Duffin (43), Z Hamill for S McIntosh (60)

REFEREE: Colm Mallon (Aghagallon)

Conan McNicholl receives the Saffron Gael Man of the Match award

The Glensmen. Oisin McDonnell with his dad Alasdair and Rory Boyle with is dad Declan

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