Brigid’s Keep Davis’ at Arm’s Length to Go Through

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St Brigids: 0-14 – 1-8 Thomas Davis

St Brigid’s advanced to the quarter final of the Dublin Senior Football Championship on Saturday evening without turning too many heads.

While only being three points ahead at the end, they looked the better side for much of the hour.

After several positional changes from the match programme, Brigids set up with Mark Cahill as sweeper, a position he excelled in, and John O’Loughlin at midfield.

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Cahill was positioned as sweeper from the outset

Cathal Doyle of Brigids and Cian Murphy of Davis’, also came out the field, leading to a very congested middle third.

Gavin Carruth or Eoin Kirby shared duties as sweeper for Thomas Davis, depending on which forwards Brigids had in the full forward line at a given time.

Seán Blanchfield toyed with kick outs to his half back line, but after losing the first two, began playing them long to a midfield, leading to some massive hits in the early exchanges.

Shane Supple, calm as always, looked to play short kick outs where possible, but took few risks and was happy to let his midfielders contest.

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Supple was calm, as ever, from dead ball and open play

Brigids’ Cian Mullins would have a noteworthy five marks during the game. Given the congested middle third of the field, this was key in launching many Brigid’s attacks.

Brigid’s were wasteful early on, hitting four early wides. Points from Lorcan McCarthy and Niall Davey cancelled out efforts from Chris Sallier and Paul Hudson to leave the teams level entering the second quarter.

When Davis’ Ciaran Farrelly got on the ball on the left wing with a rare bit of space, he went on a powerful solo run before finishing well under Supple.

Perhaps the most important positional switch was made around the 15th minute mark. Laois midfielder, John O’Loughlin, went to full forward for Brigid’s, where he caused havoc for Lawrence Healy and the Davis defence.

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O’Loughlin was literally a handful at full forward

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Using his arms and playing the angles

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To constantly get out in front

Davis seemed to struggle to make line breaks while going forward. There was little support play or players coming off the shoulder at pace. This led to laboured attacks for the Tallaght side. Twinned with Cahill’s clever coverage of Davis’ inside forwards, they could only manage one further point in the half.

Owing greatly to O’Loughlin’s presence at full forward, Brigids were able to score six points after they conceded the goal to lead 0-8 to 1-3 at the break.

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Davis were forced to attack tight spaces

Brigids started the brighter in the second half, owing to Mullins exceptional fielding and their greater numbers under the breaks.

Davis adopted a potentially self-destructive policy of leaving Philly Ryan one on one in their full back line. Adam Fallon, to his credit, did a fine man marking job, keeping Ryan to one point in the second half.

Brigids, having opened up a four point lead by the 45th minute, never looked like pulling away, but never looked like being caught either.

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Andrews kicked two top notch points

The latter owed a lot to Davis’ lack of width in attack. Daithí Ryan did his best to create space as they advanced, but his good positions on the right wing were never seen or used by his team mates. Instead, they attacked narrowly down the middle, allowing the influential Cahill to protect his goal and cover the dangerous Sallier at the same time.

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Cahill had the lines covered perfectly throughout as libero

A late score from lively substitute Malachy Tighe ensured victory for Brigids, who advance to the quarter final draw in July.

St Brigids: Shane Supple, Jack Mullins, Seán Egan (0-1), Niall Davey (0-1), Gavin Kane, Mark Cahill, Colin Lynch, Cian Mullins, John O’Loughlin (0-3), Lorcan McCarthy (0-3 1f), Cathal Doyle, Daire Plunkett, Paddy Andrews (0-2), Philly Ryan (0-3 1f), Alan Daly Subs Malachy Tighe (0-1)(Doyle 34) Darren Freeman (McCarthy 43) Kevin Callaghan (Davey bc 49) Fiachra O’Meara (Kane 54)

Thomas Davis: Seán Blanchfield, Adam Fallon, Gavin Carruth, Kieran Murray, Joey O’Reilly, Eoin Kirby, Oisín Kelly, Ryan Deegan, Brendan Kirby, Shane McGrath (0-1), Lawrence Healy, Ciarán Farrelly (1-2), Cian Murphy, Chris Sallier (0-1), Paul Hudson (0-3 1f), R Gleeson (B Kirby 15) Dáithí Ryan(0-1) (Murray 25) Chris Galvin (Gleeson 57)

By Conor Dunne