Eoghan McMenamin wheels away in celebration after scoring the Rossa goal in their U21 semi-final win over Rossa at Woodlands. Pic by John McIlwaine
Rossa 1-20-0-11 St Brigids
By Kevin Herron at Woodlands
Rossa cruised into the Antrim U-21 football final with twelve points to spare after a dominant second-half display saw the Shaws Road side run out 1-20-0-11 winners over St Brigids at Woodlands this afternoon.
Just two-points separated the sides at the interval as St Brigids were proving more than a match for a much fancied Rossa side, the second period was one way traffic however as Rossa outscored St Brigids 0-13-0-03 to set up an all Belfast affair with Lámh Dhearg in the final.
Rossa were quickest out to the traps and took the lead through a converted James Connolly free, though Ruairi Brolly did likewise at the other end to level the scores.
A second placed ball from Brolly edged St Brigids ahead for the first time on seven minutes and Peter Webb popped the ball over the bar a minute later to give the Musgrave Park side a 0-03-0-01 lead.
Dominic McEnhill combined with Deaglan Murphy to cut the deficit, but St Brigids restored their two point lead on twelve minutes after Conor O’Doherty offloaded the ball to Brolly who kicked his third point of the afternoon.
St Brigids extended their lead as Brolly turned provider for an Ethan Carleton point but the game was level on 18 minutes as Eoghan McMenamin led the St Brigids defence a merry dance before powerfully driving the ball past Kevin McGovern to make it 1-02-0-05.
James Connolly converted a free within a minute to give Rossa the advantage for the first time since the fifth minute, but immediately St Brigids were on parity as Ruairi Brolly’s effort struck the outside of the large post and Conor O’Doherty turned the loose ball over the bar.
St Brigids soon opened up a two-point lead for the second time in the half, Peter Webb converted a free and Ruairi Brolly claimed his fourth point of the afternoon after a neat interchange with Alex Lavery to give his side a 1-03-0-08 lead.
Brolly’s score was to be the last for his side in the opening half as Rossa ended the first-period stronger, Pody McParland and Deaglan Murphy struck twice within a minute to draw the Shaws Road side level.
Gavin McGrath then kicked his side into the lead for the third time in the half on 26 minutes and a minute into injury-time James Connolly converted his third free as Rossa took a slender 1-07-0-08 lead in at the break.
It took four minutes of the second period for the opening score to arrive through Ethan Carleton, who conjured his second score of the afternoon from a tight angle. Eoghan McMenamin hit back at the other end and Dominic McEnhill converted a free to stretch Rossa’s lead to three.
Ruairi Brolly cut the margin to two after referee Colm McDonald allowed the corner-forward an advantage after an infringement in the build-up.
Eleven minutes into the second period, McDonald signalled for a Rossa penalty after a foul on Eoghan McMenamin.
Pody McParland took responsibility, but watched in frustration as Kevin McGovern guessed correctly and leapt upon the loose ball in the aftermath of his save.
Gerard Walsh converted a 45’ to put a goal between the sides and Rossa edged four ahead after Deaglan Murphy combined with McParland.
Murphy himself was on the score sheet a minute later to give his side a 1-12-0-10 lead, though Peter Webb converted a free after Peter Henvey was dragged to ground.
With 46 minutes on the clock that was to be St Brigids last score as Rossa hit eight unanswered points in the final quarter.
Pody McParland made space and fired over his third point of the afternoon and Deaglan Murphy and Dominic McEnhill (free) stretched the lead to eight.
The Shaws Road side emptied their bench late on but claimed a further four scores before the afternoon was out.
Eoghan McMenamin hit a fabulous score to bring his personal tally to 1-02 before free-takers James Connolly and Dominic McEnhill hit their first points from play.
St. Marys CBGS duo McMenamin and McEnhill (free) completed a routine afternoon’s work for Rossa who emphatically claimed their spot in the U-21 decider.
Rossa: M Byrne, J Morris, C McEwan, J Cooley, G McGrath (0-01), N Crossan, T Murphy , E McMenamin (1-03), G Walsh (0-01), D Grego, P McParland (0-03), M McGreevy, D Murphy (0-04), J Connolly (0-04,0-03f), D McEnhill (0-04,0-03f). Subs: C Shannon for J Cooley (36 mins), C McGettigan for D Grego (58 mins), C Walsh for D Murphy (60 mins), M Smith for M McGreevy (61 mins), M Mc for J Morris (61 mins).
St Brigids: K McGovern, B Austin, F McKernan, P King, D McGarvey, C King, O Boyle, S Boyle, M Cummings, C O’Doherty (0-01), J Smith, P Webb (0-03,0-02f), R Brolly (0-05, 0-02f), A Lavery, E Carlton (0-02). Subs: R Smyth for A Lavery (40 mins), P Lennon for F McKernan (46 mins), P Lavery for E Carleton (59 mins).
Referee: Colm McDonald (St Galls)