St Sylvester’s clash with St Brigid’s in the AFL 3 promotion play-off match at Broomfield this Sunday (throw-in 11am) has taken on an added significance for both teams, with the possibility that should either club win this game and the subsequent play-off final, they will have been one of only two Dublin clubs to field two adult football sides at senior level – Kilmacud Crokes being the other.
St Brigid’s manager, Brian Donovan, knows the task ahead of his side is a significant one, as he outlined when he spoke to Gazette Sport.
“At this stage, it’s like a final for both teams. St Sylvester’s are an excellent team and they were unlucky not to win the league. We played them in the league towards the end of August and it ended in a draw, so we are aware that these are two very even teams.
“We have no injuries ahead of Sunday, but we’ve lads coming back who haven’t played in a few weeks and we could be a little bit rusty. It’s hard to know when these play-off games will come around so, unfortunately, we have two lads away with work.”
Looking back on St Brigid’s year so far, Donovan believed they could also have won the league but for the amount of games they drew.
“In the very first game of the season, we were five points up against Clontarf and ended up drawing, and it was the same against Naomh Barrog, who eventually won the league. “
Despite that, however, the St Brigid’s manager was still glad his side were in contention at this time of the year.
“To be honest, we’re quite happy to be in a play-off considering. We’ve had some good displays from our players overall – in the forwards Warren Finnegan and Niall O’Dea, Phil McEntee in the middle. We brought in some young guys – the likes of Mikey Ebb and Shane O’Hara who did very well.”
St Sylvester’s manager Joe Boyne has some concerns ahead of the crucial play-off clash, which he explained when he spoke to Gazette Sport last week.
“We have no injuries ahead of the game, but the biggest problem we have is that the Under-21 championship is fixed for the day before [Saturday] and eight of my lads are on that side, too.
“Hopefully, we don’t pick up any injuries in that match.”
The St Sylvester’s manager outlined his respect for his opponents.
“[St Brigid’s] are a good side. We’re going to have to play to the best of our ability to win this, that’s for sure.”