He may have been the elder partner to the younger inter-county man in the middle of the field on Sunday in MacHale Park but Ballintubber's Stephen Broderick put in masterful performance alongside Jason Gibbons in midfield. The Ballintubber middle-third duo were supreme throughout the game and had Karl Mannion and Padraig Kelly in their back pockets for long periods of the match.
Speaking after the game, a delighted Broderick told the Mayo Advertiser that Ballintubber had their homework well done ahead of the contest. “It's a great win, it was a seriously tough game out there. They threw everything they had at us out there. Going into the game we prepared very well. After the county final we enjoyed it for a few days, but this group of players have their sights on a bit more than a county title and this was the first hurdle.”
The gap between their win in the Mayo final over Castlebar Mitchels and Sunday's game was vital to their preparation according to Broderick who said, “we worked hard for this game today, we stuck at it and we'd studied St Brigid's very hard. It was great we'd a gap of three weeks from the county final. Even though we had two league games in between it gave us time to analyze these boys we were coming up against today. We knew their strengths and weakness and it gave us time to work on our own game to improve things from the county final we knew we needed to.”
While Broderick was outstanding on the day, he had special praise for one of his team-mates who stood up when they needed him to when the game was going against them. “At the end of the day it just came down to hard work, Brigid's are a great team. Alan Dillon really stepped up when we needed him there today. They got the first three scores of the second half, we had the cushion of the goal going in at the break. We knew they'd come out strong, but we didn't panic, we knew we'd the players on the pitch with the likes of Alan and Cillian on the pitch if we kept in the game then we would have the fitness. We've put in massive work since February on the training field and the fitness was there, I think everyone felt very fresh towards the last ten minutes. Brigid's have been on the road a long time, they won an All Ireland a few years ago and it might have helped us. But just hard work, honesty and making mistakes and other lads making up for it and fighting for each other, that's what it was all about. There's great honesty in this team” he said.