Giants of the south set to collide as Brigid’s face Clann

Story by Kieran Galvin

Friday, 12th October, 2018 1:04pm

Giants of the south set to collide as Brigid’s face Clann

Ian Kilbride of St Brigid’s gets his pass away despite pressure from Clann na nGael duo Darra Pettit (right) and Daragh Shine when the sides met during the 2015 championship. Photo: Ann Hennessy.

For the first time in 21 years, perennial rivals St Brigid's and Clann na nGael will meet in the Roscommon senior football final this Sunday.

There are many fascinating dimensions to this county final showdown, and there is a touch of historical symmetry about the confrontation. When they last met in the final, Clann na nGael were going for three in a row, only for Brigid's to dethrone them. Now the boot is on the other foot as the Kiltoom men seek their third title in succession, with their neighbours Clann standing in their way.
Brigid's went into that 1997 decider seeking their first senior crown in 28 years and they had lost four finals to Clann since their previous success. There were many painful setbacks for the men from Kiltoom and Cam down the years. They included a heavy defeat to Clann in the 1989 final (3-11 to 1-1) and a loss in 1984 when Brigid's only managed to score one point.
Yet those bad memories were wiped away in the memorable 1997 success when Brigid's were managed by future All-Ireland winning Galway boss, John O'Mahony. Interestingly, both current managers played in that final. Frankie Dolan scored four points for Brigid's, while Fergal Shine was part of the vanquished Clann team on the day.
Clann na nGael were the dominant force in Roscommon, and indeed Connacht club football, for so long. They reached five All-Ireland club finals, including four in a row from 1987 to 1990, but were unable to climb to the summit. In 2013, St Brigid's went one better than their neighbours by winning the All-Ireland club title.
Clann are the only Roscommon club to beat Brigid's in a knockout game this decade. That victory came in the 2015 semi-final when the Johnstown side went on to defeat Padraig Pearses in the final.
Back then, there was talk of a changing of the guard. But Brigid's bounced back by winning the next two titles.
Clann head the roll of honour in Roscommon with 20 titles, while Brigid's lie second with 16.
The sides met in the group stages of this year's championship when Clann claimed a narrow win, 1-9 to 2-5. But that game, played back in April, will bear little resemblance to Sunday's showdown.
In year's Roscommon SFC, there have been complaints about a lot of mediocre football and meagre attendances. But such talk should be put to one side on Sunday when the two giants of the south collide with the Fahey Cup at stake. Throw-in at Dr Hyde Park is at 4pm.

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