All-Ireland club SFC semi-final: Garrycastle through to decider

February 18, 2012

Garrycastle's Paul Dillon and Niall Grehan of St Brigid's go head to head during the AIB All-Ireland club SFC semi-final in Longford ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan
Dessie Dolan scored seven points as Garrycastle beat St Brigid's by 1-11 to 1-9 at Pearse Park.

Anthony Cunningham's men survived the second-half dismissal of David Shaughnessy to book their place in the March 17th national decider, where they'll face the might of Crossmaglen.

Karl Mannion's penalty goal ensured St Brigid's of a two-point half-time lead, 1-6 to 0-7, but their neighbours were the better team in the second half.

The Westmeath champions got off to a flying start when they reeled off the first three points of the afternoon courtesy of James Dolan, Paul Dillon and James Deignan but Cathal McHugh and Senan Kilbride soon had the Brigid's up and running.

After the next two points were shared (Niall Cregg found an equaliser before Dessie Dolan edged the Athlone men back in front), Mannion made no mistake from the penalty spot as he found the net to put the Roscommon kingpins in front for the first time, 1-3 to 0-4 after 22 minutes.

Veteran attacker Dessie Dolan showed that he has lost none of his class as he claimed a couple of points to tie the scores up again, 0-7 to 1-4 (with Gary Dolan and Cathal McHugh also providing points for either club), but a couple of injury-time scores from the Kilbrides - Senan and then Ian - ensured that it was the Connacht representatives who held sway at the interval, 1-6 to 0-7.

Hardly surprisingly given the geographical proximity of these two teams and the enormity of the occasion, there was a slight scuffle as the teams left the pitch.

Garrycastle bossed the third quarter to lead by four. Three points from Dessie Dolan and a 37th-minute goal from James Dolan turned this match on its head: 1-10 to 1-6.

St Brigid's must have feared it wasn't going to be their day when Ian Kilbride's goal effort came back off a post at the end of the third quarter.

The dismissal of Garrycastle's David Shaughnessy offered the Connacht kingpins a chink of light and points from Frankie Dolan and McHugh meant it was a one-point game with two minutes remaining.

St Brigid's attacked desperately in search of the elusive levelling point but it was Dessie Dolan - with his seventh point of the day - who knocked over an injury-time free to ensure passage to a St Patrick's Day showdown with Crossmaglen Rangers.

Garrycastle - C Mullin; E Mulvihill, J Gaffey, M McCallon; K Henson, D Harte, T McHugh; S O'Donoghue, D O'Shaughnessy; G Dolan (0-1), P Mulvihill, P Dillon (0-1); J Duignan (0-1), J Dolan (1-1), D Dolan (0-7). Subs: A Fox for McHugh, A Browne for Duignan, C Cosgrove for Dillon, A Daly for G Dolan.

St Brigid's - J Martin; R Kelly, D Donnelly, G Cunniffe; N Grehan (0-1), P Domican, I Kilbride (0-1); K Mannion (1-0), G Dolan; D Dolan, Cathal McHugh (0-2), E Sheehy; F Dolan (0-1), S Kilbride (0-3), Conor McHugh (0-1). Subs: J Murray for Kelly, P Kelly for Sheehy, D Kelleher for D Dolan.

Ref - J McQuillan (Cavan).

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