Warwickshire Senior Football Champions 1994: Erin go Bragh

Match Report (archive courtesy of Brendan O’Reilly, Erin go Bragh)

Erin go Bragh turn on the heat!

Erin go Bragh 1-09 v 0-08 St. Brendan’s (Replay)

St. Brendan’s surrendered their Warwickshire county title at Páirc na hÉireann when they fell by 1-9 to 0-8 to Erin go Bragh in the replay of the final.

Erin go Bragh played with fire and panache and, roared on by their vociferous support, ground St. Brendan’s into the mud. We saw a very enjoyable first-half, with the champions playing into a crosswind and trailing only by 1-6 to 0-6 at the interval. They looked good at that stage to retain their title but they ran out of ideas during the second-half and failed to use the elements that should have been favouring them. Their handling, shooting and passing were really mediocre and they allowed Erin go Bragh the freedom of the park.

Erin go Bragh, on the other hand, had the fire for victory and finished up worthy winners. Their teamwork, passing and shooting were a revelation…they also had the man of the match in half-back Tom Connolly, who was in brilliant form and they also ruled the roost at midfield, where Paul Higgins was superb.

The pitch was gluey as the teams lined out and Higgins gave Erin go Bragh an early lead with a point in the fifth minute. Pat McCartan levelled matters three minutes later and John Breslin, with a pointed free, put the champions ahead in the tenth minute. Two minutes later half-back John Beirne beat off three challenges before placing the unmarked Higgins for an equalising point from 40 yards.

John Breslin then pointed a free from 40 yards for St. Brendan’s and Erin go Bragh were soon back with an equaliser from a Brendan McCarthy free. Mickey McGowan pointed for St. Brendan’s and then the champions were hit by an injury to outstanding full-back Pat Walsh who was knocked out when going for a dropping ball near his own posts.

Erin go Bragh were then boosted by a goal from a penalty by Sean Dunne, which left them two points ahead. Pat Walsh was replaced, with full-forward Pat McCartan moving outfield to allow Mickey Sullivan to join the attack. McCartan’s distribution was missed in attack and Brendan’s reduced the deficit when Breslin pointed a 40-yard free. Justin Keaveney countered with a point and McCarthy added another with only two minutes remaining.

Subsititute Mickey Sullivan, with his first kick in the game, sent over for St. Brendan’s only for Barry Gallagher to respond with a similar score for the opposition just on half-time, which saw Erin go Bragh leading by 1-6 to 0-6.

St. Brendan’s restarted with an early point by John Breslin from a 40-yard free, to which Tommy Tolan replied with a point in the 41st minute. That was the (former) winners’ last score, as it happened, and Erin go Bragh went on to collect points by McCarthy in the 51st minute and Brendan Carolan, six minutes later. McCarthy was again on target from close range two minutes from the end and the final ended with Erin go Bragh worthy winners and the holders with only themselves to blame for an inept display, especially in the final 20 minutes.

Goalkeeper Alan Lynam, Tom Connolly, Paul Higgins, Barry Gallagher, Jerry Dowd, John Beirne and Brendan McCarthy were outstanding for Erin go Bragh, while the brothers Tommy and Eamon Tolan, Pat Walsh, prior to being injured, Pat McCartan, Liam Dundas and John Breslin were in fine form for the losers.


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