ACFL Reserve Div 2: St Brigid’s 1-7 St Paul’s 2-9
St Paul’s Reserves have put themselves in the driving seat ahead of their Reserve Shield final against St Brigid’s next Wednesday (9th) after securing a good win against the same opposition at Musgrave Park on Wednesday.
St Paul’s started off much the brighter, with the full-forward line really motoring, kicking some scores that wouldn’t be out of place coming from their Senior side as St Brigid’s struggled to get to grips with their pace. Even a glance at the physiques of the St Paul’s attack – let’s say, carrying a little less “evidence of life’s pleasures” than the usual Reserve Division 2 side might – would have informed you that they are a quality outfit. Once or twice the St Brigid’s rearguard appeared to have done well to push the Shaw’s Road men out wide, only for the hoops to swing the ball over nonetheless.
As the half grew on, St Brigid’s started to gain some more traction. Ryan Daly impressed from full back while Matt Kelly was instigating some good attacks. Rory Flanagan was getting to grips with midfield and it was Flanagan who started the move that led to St Brigid’s goal, Shane Boyle making a bursting run and smashing the ball to the back of the St Paul’s net. Half-time came and that goal (as well as a pointed effort from Boyle that had his opponents uttering praise) meant St Brigid’s were – despite a poor first half – within touching distance at 1-3 to 0-7
The second half was to be a different story, however, as St Brigid’s’ lack of end product up front would cost them dear. Mention must be made, however, of the St Paul’s goalkeeper, who made several outstanding saves. Were it not for him, St Brigid’s’ Chris McCann may well have had a hat-trick. Perhaps Sean McGreevy has been holding coaching courses up there!
Two moves would tell the difference in the match and both revolved around the elusive figure known as ‘Chopper’. After a fairly quiet first half (apart from one strange accidental header), corner-forward ‘Chopper’ burst into life in the second half. The St Paul’s corner-forward received an inch-perfect pass from his midfield – a quality of ball that had been somewhat lacking up until then – and sped past his man before finishing deftly. Shortly afterwards would come the killer blow. As the home side tired, ‘Chopper’ pounced once again and set up his left-half-forward who lobbed the goalkeeper with a delightful finish. This was essentially the winner, and St Paul’s enjoyed the last few minutes of the game safe in the knowledge that two points – and, just as importantly, the mental upper hand ahead of next week’s final – were in the bag.