A scoring burst of 1-2 unanswered from David Egan in the final quarter of the game was enough to see St Brigid’s through to the next round of the Leinster Intermediate Championship at the expense of St Martin’s of Wexford in Croghan last Sunday.
Played in glorious sunshine, which was in stark contrast to the deluge they faced when they played Killeshin in the first round,St Brigid’s were the better side over the hour. They were made to battle all the way by the visitors who were playing their third big game in eight days having only won their championship the Monday before in a replay having played the first game two days earlier.
Despite a slow start, the Wexford side showed no ill effects from their hectic schedule in the first-half and went to the break with a slender one point lead.
After the break however St Brigid’s upped their tempo and eliminated the majority of the basic errors they had been making in the opening 30 minutes. They also gained parity in midfield which was an area that St Martin’s had dominated in the first half.
Ken Casey and David Egan were in fine scoring form and their defence suffocated the opposition after the break with centre-back Eunan Lawlor and centre-forward Shay Hannon were key players up the spine of the team. St Brigid’s eventually got their noses in front and Egan’s goal 13 minutes from time decisively shifted the balance of the game in their favour.
For good measure he added another two points from frees to round off the win which puts them through to travel to face Eire Og of Greystones in the semi-final on November 20.
Brigid’s made a solid start to the game getting two points on the board inside the first three minutes. Sean Casey opened the scoring after he was picked out by an accurate long pass from Anthony Foy.
Ken Casey doubled the lead with the first of his four points on the day.
St Martin’s first point of the game came after four minutes when Darren Jordan curled over a free but St Brigid’s restored their two point lead after six minutes with a pointed free from David Egan.
After starting the game strongly, St Brigid’s struggled to maintain their early momentum. They were guilty of giving away possession cheaply and their opponents proved more than capable of punishing the mistakes with effective breaks down the field.
The St Martin’s midfield partnership of Daithi Waters and Edward O’Byrne also began to gain the upper hand. After three consecutive wides, St Martin’s eventually added to their total after 18 minutes when a shot from Brian Bernie crept over the bar. Straight from the kick-out Daithi Waters won possession, drove forward and booted the ball over the bar.
The visitors lead for the first time after 23 minutes when Rich Devereaux slotted the ball over the bar and while that score was cancelled out by Ken Casey, St Martin’s went to the break in front at 0-5 to 0-4 courtesy of Brian Bernie.
Within a minute of the restart however St Brigid’s were level when Ken Casey fisted over the bar after an interception in his own half-back line by Anthony Foy. Within a minute they were back in front with Casey again on target, this time with his left foot.
After being denied a point thanks to an excellent block from Alan Kennedy, Rich Devereaux got his side back on level terms seven minutes into the half.
Parity did not last long as Willie Molloy kicked St Brigid’s back in front with a point that was just reward for his endless efforts on the day. Despite being small in stature and being marked by a man who looked twice his size, Molloy never shirked a challenge all day and he ran himself ragged always providing an option for the man in possession. He was the victim of a cheap shot from James Bogan late in the game which winded him and earned the Wexford man a yellow card but it did not keep him down for long and he was on his feet later in the game to play a key part in St Brigid’s decisive goal.
He was also involved in a clever one-two with David Egan which lead to Egan kicking St Brigid’s two points clear ten minutes into the half.
James Bogan replied instantly for St Martin’s and despite having further opportunities, that would prove to be the Wexford side’s final score of the game as their efforts in the week leading up to the game finally seemed to take a toll.
With 13 minutes remaining the best move of the game resulted in the pivotal score as David Egan played back to back one-twos with Willie Molloy and then Sean Casey to put him through on goal and he made no mistake with a low, powerful strike to the back of Tomas Hayes’ net.
That knocked the remaining resistance out of a St Martin’s who never looked like they would be able to overcome a four point deficit.
For good measure David Egan added another two points from frees late in the game to allay some of the nerves on the St Brigid’s sideline as the Croghan club advanced to the semi-finals of the provincial championship.
St Brigid’s: David Egan 1-4 (0-3f); Ken Casey 0-4; Sean Casey 0-1; Willie Molloy 0-1
St Martin’s: Rich Devereaux 0-3; Brian Bernie 0-2; Darren Jordan 0-1f; Philip Waters 0-1
St Brigid’s: 6 (3 1st half)
St Martin’s: 8 (4 1st half)
St Brigid’s: Bobby Troy, Ken Casey
St Martin’s: James Bogan, Paidi Kelly
St Brigid’s: Liam Fox; Thomas Mooney, Alan Kennedy, Ger Hannon; David Boland, Eunan Lawlor, Anthony Foy; Bobby Troy, Johnny Brickland; Willie Molloy, Shay Hannon, Peter Hannon; David Egan, Sean Casey, Ken Casey. Subs: Chris Maguire for Peter Hannon (38mins), Dean Kennedy for Willie Molloy (60 mins)
St Martin’s: Tomas Hayes; Mark Maloney, Daithi Hayes, Willie Devereaux; Philip Waters, James Bogan, Paidi Kelly; Daithi Waters, Edward O’Byrne; Ciaran Lyng, Brian Bernie, Darren Jordan; Rich Devereaux, Seamus Dempsey, Ciaran Redmond. Subs: Rory Wilson for Darren Jordan (55mins), Daragh Murphy for Ciaran Redmond (55mins)