AFL Division 1 relegation playoff
St Brigid’s 0-7
St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh 0-6
A Donnacha Ryan point two minutes into time-added-on ensured top flight league football for St Brigid’s following a tense, low-scoring AFL Division 1 relegation play-off against St Oliver Plunkett’s Eoghan Ruadh at a windy Somerton Park.
At this level, particularly with difficult, swirling conditions, things were particularly difficult and small margins make a huge difference.
This was shown midway through the first half when luckless Plunkett’s hit the Brigid’s woodwork three times in the space of 10 dramatic seconds before the ball was finally cleared to safety.
Plunkett’s played with the benefit of a strong first-half breeze but still the sides went in at the break level at 0-4 each.
Paddy Andrews – who enjoyed a great tussle with James Donoghue – was responsible for the first three Brigid’s scores, Lorcan McCarthy getting the fourth.
Bernard Brogan, well marshalled for the most part by Jack Mullins, opened the Plunketts scoring from play following by another three points from the ever-reliable Gareth Smith to leave the sides deadlocked at the break.
The second-half was every bit as tight with the first 10 minutes bringing no change in the score.
Brigid’s midfielder Daire Plunkett then put his side back in front but a Gareth free soon had the sides back on level terms.
Both sides were guilty of missed opportunities with goalkeeeper Stephen Moore doing well for Brigid’s.
Ten minutes from time, Paddy Andrews used the wind well to float over the lead point before perhaps the score of the night from Plunkett’s Sean Bugler who hit a terrific equalising point on the run.
Just when extra-time looked inevitable up popped St. Brigid’s impressive wing half-back Ryan to land the winning score, leaving Plunketts deflated and Kevin Bonner’s players relieved to have retained their Division 1 status yet again.
It is the second year in-a-row that the Brigid’s have preserved their AFL1 status by winning a relegation battle. Last November they defeated St Sylvester’s 3-15 to 1-9.
This year was an extra reprieve as they finished level on points with Fingallians on 10 points in the regular season but the Swords side went down based on their head-to-head result.
Plunkett’s earned the playoff thanks to a final day 3-13 to 1-9 win over Templeogue Synge Street but could not see out the final playoff result.