St Brigid’s 2-7
Crossmaglen Rangers 1-9
ST BRIGID’S ARE through to the All-Ireland Club SFC Final at Croke Park after beating Crossmaglen Rangers 2-07 to 1-09 at Cusack Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Armagh side led 1-5 to 1-3 at the break, having seen St Brigid’s fly out of the traps with an early goal from Frankie Dolan.
Cross were behind by 1-2 to 0-1 with ten minutes played, but gradually eased themselves into the match and Paul Hughes, a huge attacking threat from corner-back, brought his side to within a point of St Brigid’s with a cracking goal in the 12th minute.
Aaron Kernan was amongst the point-scorers as Crossmaglen gained the upper hand, while Dolan missed an easy free and the chance to restore his side’s lead.
A fine point from Crossmaglen’s Jamie Clarke ended the half with the Roscommon champions trailing by a couple of points.
Senan Kilbride grabbed the first point of the second half for St. Brigids to make it 1-5 to 1-4, and there was further disappointment for Crossmaglen when Paul Kernan was forced off due to injury.
Dolan missed up for his earlier misses to draw his side level by nailing a fine free-kick, and 15 minutes into the second half the sides remained level.
Cathal McHugh and Dolan had something to say about that and made it four points in a row to St Brigids.
With 15 minutes remaining, Crossmaglen finally opened their account in the second half, with a point from David McKenna closing the gap to a single point.
The see-saw nature of the game continued when Clarke levelled the game, once again, with eight minutes remaining.
Aaron Kernan kept the momentum very much in favour of the defending champions – making it three points in three minutes for Crossmaglen – as Brigid’s failed to take advantage of a stream of scoring chances.
With just minutes remaining, there was drama as Brigids’ Conor McHugh poked the ball past Hearty after fine work by both Dolan and Kilbride.
Things went from bad to worse for Crossmaglen when Kyle Carragher was shown a red card for clashing with opposition goalkeeper Shane Curran.
A point from Jamie Clarke reduced the arrears to a single point in injury time, but Crossmaglen ultimately could not claw the game back and St Brigid’s march on to Croke Park.
Scorers for St Brigid’s: Frankie Dolan 1-3 (0-2f), Conor McHugh 1-0, Senan Kilbride (0-2f), Cathal McHugh 0-2 each.
Scorers for Crossmaglen Rangers: Paul Hughes 1-0, Jamie Clarke 0-3, Aaron Kernan (0-1f), Kyle Carragher 0-2 each, David McKenna, Kyle Brennan 0-1 each.
ST BRIGID’S: Shane Curran; Ger Aherne, Gearóid Cunniffe, Peter Domican; Ronan Stack, Darragh Donnelly, Niall Grehan; Karol Mannion, Ian Kilbride; Cathal McHugh, Richard Blaine, Garvan Dolan; Frankie Dolan, Senan Kilbride, Darren Dolan.
Subs: Eoin Sheehy for Garvan Dolan, Damien Kelliher for Grehan, Conor McHugh for Cathal McHugh, Garvan Dolan for Darren Dolan.
CROSSMAGLEN RANGERS: Paul Hearty; Paul Kernan, James Morgan, Paul McKeown; Aaron Kernan, Danny O’Callaghan, Paul Hughes; Johnny Hanratty, David McKenna; Tony Kernan, Stephen Kernan, Martin Aherne; Jamie Clarke, Kyle Carragher, Oisín McConville.
Subs: Kyle Brennan for McConville, Aaron Cunningham for Paul Kernan, Callum Cumiskey for Cunningham, Mel Boyce for O’Callaghan.
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)