St Brigid’s getting ready for action ahead of their Craobh Chiarain Dublin senior hurling championship tie

Senior A Championship semi-final
St Brigid’s 2-17
Craobh Chiarain 1-13
 CÓILÍN DUFFY
sport@dublingazette.com

ST BRIGID’S are just an hour away from a potential first ever Dublin Senior A Hurling Championship title, after booking their place in their first decider since 2003, following a seven-point win over Craobh Chiarain on Sunday at Parnell Park.

Sixteen years ago, the Russell Park side lost to the Donnycarney outfit, with current manager Johnny McGuirk on board the winning side that day.

And the Brigid’s boss said goals were key for his side last weekend: “We got off to a slow enough start and probably hit too many wides,” he said after the game.

“At the same time, we were working hard and our tackles and turnovers were well up.

“A couple of goals in the first half gave us a cushion and luckily enough we were able to drive on in the second half.

“I’m delighted to be in the final now in two weeks time.”

The sides were well matched in the opening 10 minutes, with Craobh Chiarain leading by 0-2 to 0-1 at that stage, following a Robbie Mahon point.

However, Brigid’s responded with 2-4 unanswered, including goals from Cian O’Sullivan (12 minutes) and joint top-scorer Paul Winters (17 minutes), in a spell which provided their side with the platform for victory.

“It gave us a cushion, but at the same time we needed it, as we had hit a good few wides,” McGuirk added.

“There was a bit of a breeze in the second half, and it was difficult enough against the breeze.

“As I said, the goals were important and we needed them and it gave us the cushion and luckily enough we pushed on.”

That brace of goals coupled with points from Winters, O’Sullivan and Kevin Callaghan helped build up a 2-5 to 0-2 lead, but the closing stages of the first half were more balanced.

Gary Kelly and Cian Derwin kept Craobh in touch, but Brigid’s kept ticking over thanks to Daire Plunkett and Winters and led by 2-8 to 0-6 at the break.

Craobh pressed hard in the closing stages, despite Eugene Farrell’s dismissal on a second yellow card.

Goal hungry Craobh were denied after Alan Nolan blocked a James Finn effort, before the crossbar stopped Eoghan Dunne of a goal.

However, they found the net through a Derwin free in injury-time, but Brigid’s had firmly done enough.

The October 20 decider (4pm – Parnell Park) will only be St Brigid’s second ever appearance in a senior A hurling final.

It won’t be easy for Brigid’s up against a Cuala side that are twice All-Ireland Champions, and aiming for their fourth Dublin crown in five years, having lost at the semi-final stage to Kilmacud Crokes last year.

Cuala powered to this year’s decider with an 11-point win over St Vincent’s by 3-21 to 1-16 in Sunday’s second semi-final with Mark Schutte and Colm Cronin netting the winners goals.