brigid's keep up their lively pace
St Brigid's 3-10 St Vincent's 1-9
First-half goals from David Hawkshaw and Mark Donnelly proved crucial as St Brigid's comfortably overcame St Vincent's by seven points in their Dublin Minor Hurling League Division 1 encounter at Páirc Naomh Uinsionn on Sunday morning.
The deserved victory ensured St Brigid's kept pace with Na Fianna at the summit of the table and the Blanchardstown outfit were full value for their win after delivering an exceptional defensive display over the hour.
The visitors conceded just four scores from play over the hour with the central roles impressively taken up by Jack O'Neill and Donncha Ryan while wing-back Hawkshaw adorned an exceptional performance with a goal of the highest quality.
Further up the field, Cian O'Sullivan once again highlighted his undoubted talent as he accrued 1-7, largely from placed balls, while Johnny McGuirk was his typical selfless self as he chipped in with two cracking points.
The hosts will reflect on their failure to build on a promising opening in which they enjoyed a generous amount of possession but a series of presentable chances went spurned despite them taking the lead through a third minute free from Dublin minor Conor Burke.
Burke added a glorious point from play three minutes later but a couple of wides from placed balls undermined Vinnies' challenge and their lead was halved in the eighth minute after Conal Burke gathered superbly before popping over from 20 metres.
Within a minute, Hawkshaw lay down a marker for 'Goal of the Season' when he raced 50 metres down the left flank before firing a rising and unstoppable finish high into Daire Perry's net.
Burke responded for the hosts with another free and parity was restored in the 13th minute as the impressive John Walsh tagged on a point after some hesitation in the away defence.
Even facing a stiff breeze, scores appeared easier to come by for St Brigid's with McGuirk landing a cracking point from close to the touchline and two impeccable frees by O'Sullivan inched the visitors further ahead as the half progressed.
However, St Vincent's were handed a lifeline courtesy of some quick-thinking from Burke as he feigned a free to release Cian Galvin in space and the full-forward buried his shot into the Brigid's goal despite the best efforts of keeper Jamie Rogers.
That score failed to galvanise the hosts with their opponents finishing the half on a high as Donnelly reacted quickest in injury-time to sweep to the net after Perry had done well to thwart McGuirk's powerful effort. Any hopes that the hosts had of clawing their way back into contention were dispelled within two minutes of the restart as an O'Sullivan free from distance deceived a phalanx of defenders to land untouched into the net.
With the visitors happy to hold what they had and the hosts struggling to make any headway into the wind, a scrappy and scoreless period of 13 minutes ensued with scores by O'Sullivan and McGuirk extending the St Brigid's lead before Burke eventually opened Vinnies' second-half account in the 49th minute.
To their credit, the hosts battled gamely and their efforts were rewarded through two further Burke frees and a sharply-taken point by substitute Conor Reynolds. It never looked likely to launch a comeback however given the control that St Brigid's exerted for the larger part of this contest.
Fittingly, the influential O'Sullivan ended the scoring for the Russell Park lads with the point of the game late on, confirming a fifth win from seven and joint top spot for the Russell Park club.
Scorers - St Brigid's: C O'Sullivan 1-7 (1-6f), D Hawkshaw, M Donnelly 1-0 each, J McGuirk 0-2, Conal Burke 0-1. St Vincent's: Conor Burke 0-7 (0-6f), C Galvin 1-0, J Walsh, C Reynolds 0-1 each.
St Brigid's: J Rogers; T O'Shea, J O'Neill, D McKenna; A Holmes, D Ryan, D Hawkshaw; E Dunne, J McGuirk; C O'Sullivan, S Dunphy, T McGlynn; J Connolly, M Donnelly, C Burke. Subs: S Egan for Connolly (49), D Cullinane for Donnelly (49).
St Vincent's: D Perry; M Collins, C Ryan, K McDonald; C Langan, D Quinn, K Dunne; C Burke, O Lanigan; M Dunleavy, W Maloney, M O'Keeffe; D Confrey, C Galvin, J Walsh. Subs: C Reynolds for Dunleavy (26), K Ward for Dunne (45), A Giblin for Collins (55).
Mentors - St Brigid's: Keith O'Neill, Donal Smyth, Paddy McAvinue. St Vincent's: Noel Drumgoole, Barney Donnelly, Frank Devlin, Liam Peel.
Referee: Seán Stack (Parnell's).
Wides: St Brigid's 9 (3+6) St Vincent's 8 (6+2) .
Conditions: Blustery morning with uneven bounce on surface.
Player of the Game: David Hawkshaw (St Brigid's).