A hugely impressive second-half performance to which Ballaghadereen simply had no answer, saw Roscommon champions St Brigid’s secure the Connacht title for the third year running.
The vibes from the south Roscommon camp were very positive leading into the game but few could have expected such a comprehensive win in a provincial decider. The Saints become only the second club ever to complete the three-in-a-row of Connacht titles, following in the footsteps of the great Clann na Gael team of the eighties.
The Mayo champions packed their defence in the opening half and the Kiltoom men struggled to break them down, holding a slender 0-6 to 0-5 half-time lead. A stern half-time talking to by coach and former Mayo great Liam McHale certainly had the desired effect as the second half belonged well and truly to the Saints.
The Kiltoom/Cam men kicked 1-5 without reply in the third quarter to put them firmly in the driving seat. Not surprisingly Senan Kilbride bagged the goal and finished with a personal tally of 1-5. Frankie Dolan also had a big influence on proceedings while weighing in with 0-3 to his name.
With the Saints on top all over the field, all the Ballaghadereen men could muster was a solitary point from a free in the second half, from Barry Regan. Nine points separated the sides when Marty Duffy sounded the final whistle.
Veteran keeper Shane Curran kept a clean sheet but got great cover from the likes of Ronan Stack, Peter Domican, John Murray, and Darragh Donnelly. Karol Mannion and Ian Kilbride took control in the second half around the middle while Frankie and Senan tormented the Mayo champs rearguard throughout. Richie Blaine also contributed well up front while half-time substitute Darren Dolan marked his arrival with an inspirational long range point which set Brigid’s on their way.
While completing the treble will bring a certain amount of satisfaction for McStay and his men there can be no doubt they have their eyes set on bigger things after Christmas. They will take a well-deserved short break to recharge the batteries before going full tilt for their All-Ireland semi-final showdown with the mighty Crossmaglen.
The Saints will not be lacking in motivation when they square up to the Armagh men in February. The reigning All-Ireland champions got the better of Brigid’s on a scoreline of 2-11 to 1-11 in the 2011 decider in Croke Park. Revenge is a dish best served cold and Senan, Frankie and co now have the opportunity to spoil the party for the hat trick-seeking All-Ireland champions. On this form anything is possible.