Under-21 Football Championship(final) Sat 13th Dec
St Brigid’s v Cuchullian’s Dunloy (Woodlands 4-30)
All roads lead to Woodlands on Saturday evening as St Brigid’s and Cuchullian’s Dunloy meet at the West Belfast venue to decide the destination of the under-21 A football championship 2018.
Dunloy and St. Brigid’s looks a hard one to call and it could well take a moment of genius or a slip from either side to seperate two evenly balanced and talented sides
Both were equally impressive en route to the decider and have a wealth of talent at their disposal and both will line out unbeaten in the competition to date.
Dunloy started with a win over a fancied Aghagallon in the league phase of the competition and although held to a draw by Moneyglass they made no mistake in the replay before concluding with a convincing victory over All Saint’s.
The Cuchullian’s made a first appearance on the all-weather surface at Woodlands in the quarter final, a winning debut when proving too good for a fancied St Gall’s to ensure a semi-final place on a 3-14 to 0-13 scoreline to set up a semi-final meeting with reigning champions Rossa.
St Brigid’s completed the opening phase unbeaten and in impressive fashion with back to back wins over St John’s and Gort na Mona scoring an eye catching 9-37 in the process to ease into the last eight.
Having proved too strong for the Johnnies in the opening round the South Belfast men continued in such dominance against the same opposition in the quarter finals before establishing a date with Creggan in the semis which looked by far their toughest assignment to date.
The Kickham’s enjoyed ground advantage for that one and indeed the South west side, having remained unbeaten on their way into the last four, looked on their way to the decider when Conor Small’s opening minute strike saw them a goal in front.
St Brigid’s were not to be denied however and taking firm hold of the baton they quickly recovered to move into an interval lead at 1-11 to 1-05, and despite the sterling efforts of the home side in the second period the city lads strode over the winning line and into the final.
Dunloy having collected minor football titles in 2016 and again this term are certainly not lacking in talent, and indeed the Cuchullian’s took the under-18 title in 2016 at the expense of St Brigid’s in the final.
They have impressed from the outset in the competition and a back from the brink recovery from ten points in arrears to earn a draw and a second chance against Moneyglass underlines their character.
They are strong at the back with Conor Kinsella and Ryan Elliot solid and Deaglan Smith and Callum Scullion strong at mid-field. In a potent and fleet footed attack Keelan Molloy, Seaan Elliot and Conal Cunning carry a real threat with Molloy in electrifying form throughout the competition.
Indeed the Cuchullain’s carry a scoring threat all over the field with Smith scoring 1-03 from mid-field in their semi-final victory over Rossa.
St Brigid’s, like Cuchullain’s caught the eye from early in the competition and the South Belfast side have continued that form on their way to the final.
They are also strong at the back with central defenders Conor King and Odhran Boyle giving nothing away, and in mid field they have more than useful performers in Peter King and Patrick Finnegan.
Up front the Biddies have talent aplenty with centre forward Peter Webb a young man with huge potential and James Smith an excellent target man while corner forward Ethan Carleton certainly has an eye for goal, finding the net twice at Creggan.
St Brigid’s, having impressed in their semi-final win in Creggan will start as slight favourites but this Dunloy side has impressed throughout and they may well collect another title.