Shane Coneelly, on ther burst for St Nauls, with Ross Gallagher, and Clint Walsh, closing in on him for Naomh Brid, in the game in Fintra
St Naul’s edged their way into their second county final in three years as they just edged out a gritty 14 man Naomh Brid in a tense but exciting intermediate semi-final affair at Fintra.
St Naul’s 1-9
Naomh Brid 1-8
Referee James Connors played five minutes of extra time-a period when Naomh Brid virtually laid siege to the St Naul’s goal but just could not grab that vital equalizer as both sets of fans roared raucous encouragement to their men.
Naomh Brid held the ball for well over a minute but just could not find their way through a well- disciplined St Naul’s who had manager Barry Meehan shouting not to give away a free.
In the event, they held out, but they will be less than happy with the way they lost a 1-7 to 0-4 lead they held by the 42nd minute as they could only manage two further points in the second half.
As for battling Naomh Brid, they suffered a heavy blow when they lost towering midfielder Tomas Gallagher to a straight red card after an incident with a St Naul’s player in the 50th minute as they trailed by 1-8 to 1-5.
But they hurled everything into a attack in the last ten minutes and had further points from Callum Gallagehr and two from substitute Eoin Rush to leave the minimum margin.
And they will rue an easy miss from a 21-metre free from the otherwise impressive Gallagher as time ran out.
On balance a draw would not have been out of place - but Naul’s would have been kicking themselves in the event of such an outcome given their total dominance of the third quarter.
The sides were level at the break in a half in which the underdogs Naomh Brid had the better of the exchanges, and looked more dangerous on the break.
All of their scores bar one came from play while all of St Naul’s scores came from placed balls.
Declan McCafferty (0-2) Callum Gallagher and the darting Ryan Brogan were on target for Naomh Brid and Peadar Mogan and Stephen Griffin replied from placed balls for the winners.
Bu there was a lot of pulling and dragging too as the high total of 44 frees underlines with St Naul’s receiving 24 and Naomh Brid 20 of that total.
Conditions were slippery and difficult to police, but James Connors did a pretty reasonable job and was consistent as both sides complained equally about some of his decisions.
But the real turning point in this game came in the 40th minute when a lightning St Naul’s move prompted by the foraging Peadar Mogan found Barry Griffin on the 14 metre line.
The big full-forward pulled off a moment of magic with a sublime overhead flick into the unmarked Michael Coughlan on the edge of the Naomh Brid square and the youngster stayed very cool before slipping the ball low to the net.
Coughlan’s calm finish put the winners into a massive 1-7 to 0-4 lead in the 40th minute.
But a stung Naomh Brid hit back in waves and full-back Sam Burgess got on the end of an electric move to find the net and narrow the gap to 1-7 to 1-4.
Daniel Brennan stretched the St Naul’s lead to 1-8 to 1-4 from a well struck 45 in the trying conditions.
This was just before that crippling red card on the losers who dug deep and continued to take the fight to St Naul’s.
But they were just not able to get that vital equalizer as St Naul’s await the result of the replay between Aodh Ruadh and Cloughaneely.
ST NAUL”S: Gavin Mulreaney; Caolan Gaffney, Brendan McCole, John Rose; Martin Breslin, Conor McBrearty, Michael Coughlan; Lee McBrearty, Daniel Brennan (0-1,45); Ian Campbell, Stuart Johnston (0-2), Peadar Mogan (0-32f); Stephen Griffin (0-3f), Barry Griffin, Shane Conneely. Subs: Dermot Gallagher for I Campbell 48; Cathal Lowther for M Breslin 55;
NAOMH BRID: Pauric McDaid, Liam Duffy, Sam Burgess (1-0), Jamie Timoney; Clint Walsh, Ross Gallagher, Eoin Quinn; Sean Gormley, Tomas Gallagher; Gary McCafferty, Gearoid Gallagher, Darragh Brogan; Ryan Brogan (0-1f), Callum Gallagher (0-43f), Declan McCafferty (0-2). Subs; Eoin Rush (0-1) for D McCafferty 40; Richard Walsh for S Gormley 54; Billy Harron for C Walsh 61.
REFEREE: James Connors (St Eunans)