AFL DIV. 1 MATCH REPORT: TEMPLEOGUE SYNGE STREET V ST. BRIGIDS
ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
TEMPLEOGUE SYNGE STREET 1-8
ST BRIGID’S 0-11
By Daire Walsh
Ger Vickery struck a dramatic 65th-minute point to give Templeogue Synge Street a share of the spoils at the end of a gripping Adult Football League Division One clash with St Brigid’s at Dolphin Park.
Having already claimed a draw against Na Fianna at the beginning of the month, Brigid’s looked set to prevail when netminder Eoin Lysaght edged them in front during the opening moments of stoppage-time. There was a late sting in the tale, however, as Vickery dissected the posts at a right-hand angle to secure Templeogue’s first point of the season.
Whereas Brigid’s had followed up their opening round defeat to Kilmacud Crokes with an encouraging result at home to Na Fianna, their southside counterparts had suffered back-to-back reversals at the hands of Fingallians and St Jude’s.
Ahead of their forthcoming Senior 2 Championship bow against Naomh Mearnog – at Balgriffin on April 13 – Templeogue were able to welcome county star Niall Scully back into the fold. They were minus the services of six-time All-Ireland winner Eoghan O’Gara – who was suspended for this encounter – but the injured Paddy Andrews was a notable absentee in the Brigid’s side.
The hosts had prepared for this game with a challenge victory over Crosserlough of Cavan in Kilnaleck last Sunday week and enjoyed an ideal start on their return to competitive fare. Following excellent build-up play by Luke O’Brien, full-forward Aidan Crean fired over inside the opening 60 seconds.
Scully converted a free at a left-hand angle to supplement this score, before also finding the range on the far side. At the opposite end of the field, the roving Conor McKiernan was providing additional cover to the Templeogue defence.
They pressurised the Brigid’s attack at every available opportunity, but the visitors finally opened their account through a Philly Ryan free on 13 minutes. Ryan is a long-time stalwart of the Russell Park club and swiftly added his second point off a quick counter.
After Collie Carr had restored parity, the industrious Mark Cahill subsequently edged Brigid’s in front. Although Templeogue had struggled to maintain their early dominance, they eventually responded with a third pointed free courtesy of the reliable Scully.
Sean Brew also ventured forward from full-back to lash a loose ball between the posts – offering Templeogue another slender cushion in the process. Nevertheless, Brigid’s discovered another gear in the closing stages of the half.
Mal Tighe levelled matters with a superb effort, while Ryan – via a precise Mark Donnelly pass – grabbed his third score of the half to move Brigid’s 0-6 to 0-5 ahead in time for the interval. The tie remained firmly in the balance on the resumption, though, and Scully cancelled out Templeogue’s deficit with a superb curled strike off his left-foot.
Even though Ryan’s close-range free kept Brigid’s in the ascendancy, they received a hammer blow in the 38th-minute. When corner-back Jack Kelly was adjudged to have controlled Scully’s delivery on the ground, a penalty was awarded to the Templeogue men.
Vickery stepped forward to negotiate the resulting spot-kick and fired clinically beyond the reach of Lysaght. He immediately added to his tally with a long-distance point as Mike Fitzpatrick’s charges sought to create safe distance between themselves and Brigid’s.
Colm O’Driscoll had to be alert to turn away Ryan’s goal-bound shot, but heading into the final-quarter, Templeogue remained three points to the good (1-7 to 0-7). They were marginally pegged back by the ever-dependable Ryan, which in turn halted a 12-minute barren spell in front of goal for Brigid’s.
The former Dublin panellist was once again denied by O’Driscoll, though substitute Lorcan McCarthy reduced the gap to the bare minimum in the 56th-minute. This increased the tension at the Dublin 8 venue and in his final act before making way for Michael Courtney, Carr bagged an equalising point on the hour mark.
Momentum appeared to be with Brigid’s at this juncture and when Lysaght expertly slotted a 40-metre free, they got themselves back in the driving seat. Yet, Templeogue’s persistence ultimately paid off in the dying embers of the action.
Scully picked out Vickery deep inside the Brigid’s rearguard and the latter made sure they avoided a third consecutive reversal on their return to the top-flight. The focus for both teams will now be on the championship for the next few weeks, before they resume their Division One campaigns on May 8.
Templeogue will make the short journey to Pairc Ui Murchu for a showdown wth Ballyboden St Enda’s – Brigid’s play host to Naomh Maur on the same night.
Scorers – Templeogue Synge Street: Ger Vickery 1-2 (1-0 pen), Niall Scully 0-4 (3f), Sean Brew, Aidan Crean 0-1 each. St Brigid’s: Philly Ryan 0-5 (2f), Collie Carr 0-2, Eoin Lysaght (f), Mal Tighe, Mark Cahill, Lorcan McCarthy 0-1 each.
TEMPLEOGUE SYNGE STREET: Colm O’Driscoll; Rob Power, Sean Brew, Sam McGovern; Joe Varley, Mark Swaine, Alex O’Toole; Cillian Keogh, Mark Hayes; Niall Scully, Neil Duffy, Luke O’Brien; Conor McKiernan, Aidan Crean, Ger Vickery. Sub: Eoin O’Donovan for O’Brien (25).
ST BRIGID’S: Eoin Lysaght; Jack Kelly, Alan McCarrick, Alan Daly; Cathal Doyle, Jack Mullins, Niall Davey; Sean Egan, Gerry Troy; Mal Tighe, Mark Donnelly, Mark Cahill; Philly Ryan, Collie Carr, Donal Timoney. Subs: Lorcan McCarthy for Timoney (30+4), Gavin Kane for Davey (half-time), Niall O’Dea for Cahill (47), Michael Courtney for Carr (60).
Referee: Ronnie Malone (St Mary’s Saggart).