Northern Switchgear Senior Football Championship Group 4
Aghagallon 0-13 St Brigid’s 2-09
St Brigid’s pulled off the shock of the opening round when they travelled to Aghagallon on Saturday and beat the St Mary’s side in a hard fought and at times tempestuous game.
For most of the season the south Belfast side have battled relegation, only securing their Division 1 statues in the penultimate game, and were underdogs going up against championship runners up for the last two seasons, especially at Pairc Na Gael. However the men from Musgrave Park turned in their best display of the season as they collected both points in the round-robin series to all but secure a quarter final place in this three team group.
Midfielder Jack Dowling got St Brigid’s off to a good start when he pointed in the opening minute, but two minutes later the home side were level when Jack Lenehan fired over at the other end. Jack Dowling edged the visitors in front again when he finished off a good length of the field move with his second point, but Aghaghallon appeared to be gaining the upper hand when they came back with two in a row from Enda McCartin and Padraig Gowdy to go 0-3 to 0-2 ahead.
In a tight game with defences on top goals were always going to be vital and St Brigid’s full forward Enda Downey struck a telling blow when he fired the ball to the Aghagallon net on ten minutes to put his team two clear. The home side hit back with points from Adam Loughran, Gareth Magee and Johnny Hannon in the 11th, 15th and 16th minutes to regain the lead, but they failed to break through a watertight St Brigid’s defence for the rest of the opening half. St Brigid’s were level on 19 minutes when Ronan Boyle split the uprights and two minutes later a fine team move was finished to the net by corner forward James Smith. That put them a goal clear and they came close to grabbing their third goal had it not been for a brilliant save from Luke Mulholland in the home goals.
Three points down at the break (0-6 to 2-3) Gareth Magee reduced the Aghagallon deficit early in the second half with a well taken point, but St Brigid’s centre back John Morgan restored his team’s three point cushion on 34 minutes. Luke Mulholland brought it back two again when came up to send over a 45 but the gap was soon out to three again when Jack Dowling hit his third point of the game.
A black card for an Aghagallon defender appeared to give the visitors the advantage, but the see-saw nature of the game continued as Jack Lenehan sent one over for the home side, only to see it wiped out by a pointed free from Enda Downey for St Brigid’s. Time was running out for Aghagallon, but two quick points in the 55th and 56th minutes from Gareth Magee and Johnny Hannon brought them back to just two points but following another smart save from Luke Mulholland in the St Mary’s goal James Smith collected and sent over. Hannon closed it back to within two again with a point just on the sixty minute mark, but again the Musgrave Park men found a reply as Enda Downey fisted over, and though Adam Loughran kept the home fans hopes alive with a point, it was a case of too little, too late as St Brigid’s held on for the win.
Luke Mulholland, Ciaran Maginnis, Eunan Walsh, Patrick Brannigan, Marc McAfee, Jamie Lamont, Aidan Mulholland, Jack Lenehan, Daniel Donnelly, Padraig Gowdy, Adam Loughran, Enda McCartan, Gareth Magee, Ruairi Mccann, Johnny Hannon.
Declan Heery, Finn McKiernan, Joseph Finnegan, Peter King, Reuben Carlton, John Morgan, Conor King, Fergal Meenagh, Jack Dowling, Shea Downey, Oran Downey, Ronan Boyle, James Smyth, Enda Downey, Paul Bradley.
Referee – Eamonn McAuley (Cargin)