Antrim All County Football League Division 1
O’Donovan Rossa 1-5 St Brigids 2-9
Paul McIntyre reports from Rossa Park
St Brigids gave their season the shot in the arm it badly needed by recording a seven-point win over Rossa at a sun drenched, but blustery Rossa Park.
The Malone Road men trailed by four at the break, but with a strong wind blowing from the clubhouse end in their backs in the second half, St Brigids outscored their hosts 2-6 to 0-1 to register their first win of the season.
Their running game was well suited to the conditions and they were unlucky not to add to their first half tally of 0-3, but they emerged for the second half a more ruthless outfit.
Rossa, who were starting to show some promise in recent weeks after a disappointing start will be disappointed with their evenings work. Poor shot selection led to them not making the most of the elements in the opening half while poor discipline in the dying minutes of the opening half let St Brigids back into the contest and when they looked like taking a six-point lead into the break, it suddenly became four.
Despite wearing the number eleven shirt, Dominic McEnhill took up position on the edge of the square, and he was promptly followed by fellow Antrim senior panellist Ronan Boyle.
Despite the best efforts of Boyle, McEnhill was causing havoc and two fouls on the Rossa full forward helped the home side to an early lead.
McEnhill was rewarded for his early good work with a silky score in the 20th minute, judging the wind to perfection to curl over a beauty to open up a four-point lead.
St Brigids battled and a neatly worked short free gave Oran Downey a shot at goal but a block from Jack Morris meant that St Brigids had to wait a bit longer for their first score.
Reuben Carleton eventually got St Brigids off the mark with a well taken score after 21 minutes to cut the gap to three, but two-minutes later Rossa’s grip on the game tightened further.
With McEnhill bearing down on the St Brigids goal, covering defender John Toner clipped the heals of the home attacker and a penalty was awarded. Declan Heery did get a hand to Colm Fleming’s effort but it wasn’t enough to keep it out and Rossa opened up a six-point lead.
But in the closing stages two James Smith efforts cut the arrears to four. The second a free which was moved as a result of some dissent in the home defence.
Half time, Rossa 1-4 St Brigids 0-3
With the wind in their backs for the second half, St Brigids pushed up on Rossa which led to them winning four of Michael Byrne’s kick outs in the opening minutes.
They were also getting rewarded for a more aggressive showing on the scoreboard too and when Patrick Finnegan played in Oran Downey for a smartly taken goal in the 39th minute, it tied the game at 1-5 apiece.
It was all St Brigids now and with Jack Dowling and Toner winning possession by the bucket load in the middle sector, the Musgrave Park side controlled the remainder of the game.
After a scoreless ten minutes, Enda Downey kicked St Brigids into the lead for the first time in the 50th minute before Dowling and Patrick Finnegan points opened up a three-point lead.
Rossa went chasing the game and this left them exposed at the back. After Smith kicked his fourth point, and with the final act of the game, Patrick Finnegan set up brother Joseph with a tap-in for a second St Brigids goal and cap an excellent team performance.
Teams & Scorers:
Rossa: Michael Byrne, Matthew Mallon, Patrick Moyes, Jack Morris, Darren Grego, Chris McGuinness, Richie Gowdy, Rory Grant, Eugene McMenamin, Niall Crossan, Dominic McEnhill (0-2), Stephen Beatty, Colm Fleming (1-2, 1-0 pen, 0-2f), Thomas Morgan (0-1), Adam Devlin.
Replacements: Ciaran Orchin for McGuinness (44), Denis Rocks for Devlin (50), Conor Boyle (57), Diarmaid Rogan for Gowdy (57), Liam Carr for Morgan (57).
St Brigids: Declan Heery, Finn McKernan, Conor King, Shay Campbell, Reuben Carleton (0-1), Ronan Boyle, John Toner, Fergal Meenagh, Jack Dowling (0-2), Joseph Finnegan (1-0), Oran Downey (1-0), Patrick Finnegan (0-1), Peter Lundy, James Smith (0-4 1f), Rory McErlean.
Replacements: Enda Downey (0-1f) for McErlean (45), Niall Duffy for Lundy (49), Jack Toner for O Downey (54), John Morgan for Campbell (60).
Referee: Mr Darren McKeown (St Galls).