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Brigid's have edge on Réalt

Russell Park men get the better of southsiders in Group 1


Réalt Dearg’s Ian Kelleher jumps for the high ball with St Brigid’s Colm Hawkes and Brian Smyth

Réalt Dearg’s Ian Kelleher jumps for the high ball with St Brigid’s Colm Hawkes and Brian Smyth

Réalt Dearg’s Ian Kelleher jumps for the high ball with St Brigid’s Colm Hawkes and Brian Smyth

Kieran O'Sullivan produced a masterclass at Russell Park on Sunday morning to give St Brigid's the spoils against Réalt Dearg in a fiercely-contested Dublin Junior 'A' Hurling Championship Group 1 encounter.

The dynamic corner-forward finished with a superb tally of 0-14 as the hosts edged out the spirited challenge of their southside counterparts. Wing-forwards Conall Burke and Colm Hawkes were also in fine form for Brigid's, who were ultimately full value for the two points on offer.

Since their foundation in November 2009, Réalt Dearg have slowly - but surely - worked their way up the Dublin club hurling ladder. Courtesy of back-to-back promotions, the Drimnagh Castle men were competing in the top-tier junior competition for the very first time.

They faced a Brigid's side that are currently operating a division above them in AHL5, but made light of their novice status during the early stages of the contest. Despite conceding an opening score to O'Sullivan, the visitors fired back with unanswered points from Podge Buckley and centre-forward Shane Healy (two).

Brigid's subsequently reined them in with well-worked efforts by O'Sullivan and midfielder Brian Smyth, only for Réalt's central attacking axis of Gary Hurney and Healy (free) to cancel out their efforts at the opposite end.

While Brigid's were fighting against a stiff breeze throughout the opening period, they hit the front on 16 minutes - O'Sullivan's 0-2 salvo supplementing Colm Hawkes' early contribution. Even though the dependable Healy halted their momentum, Eoin Thynne, Conall Burke and O'Sullivan were later on target in a powerful Brigid's purple patch.

Réalt Dearg were determined to leave their imprint on this game, however. Robbie Madden, Healy and Buckley raised white flags in quick succession to give them a 0-12 to 0-10 interval cushion.

James Aherne's charges had put themselves in the frame for a historic triumph and remained in the ascendancy on 40 minutes. After O'Sullivan added a brace of points to his ever-expanding personal haul, the equally-efficient Healy grabbed his seventh of the proceedings.

Brigid's passed up a number of clear-cut opportunities, before finally developing a coherent rhythm in attack. O'Sullivan's routine free wiped out Réalt's advantage and Burke found his range either side of the third-quarter mark to provide the home team with some breathing space.

Another outstanding Healy strike kept Réalt Dearg in the reckoning, but Brigid's looked set to pull clear in the dying stages. O'Sullivan (two), substitute Cian O'Doherty and Hawkes hit four points on the trot to give them a 0-21 to 0-15 lead on the hour mark.

To Réalt Dearg's credit, they never allowed their heads to drop and received a fresh jolt of energy in stoppage-time. Paudie O'Regan flicked to the net in clinical style and this was quickly followed by a Healy point from open play.

Brigid's were still in control of their own destiny, though, and it was left for the superb O'Sullivan to wrap up their victory with a late brace.