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Rest may be vital to Brigid’s aims

REFRESHED by the godsend of a two-week break, St Brigid’s are determined to avoid any more defensive slippage as they seek to claim an AIB Leinster club final place against Portlaoise next Sunday.

The Dublin SFC champions qualified for the provincial last-four with a prolific forward masterclass against Horeswood 10 days ago, tallying 1-20 against the Wexford champions.

But in the aftermath of that six-point victory, the Blanchardstown outfit’s management team have spent far more time assessing what went wrong at the other end of the field, where Brigid’s leaked three first-half goals.

And according to joint-manager |Mark Byrne, any repeat would almost certainly prove fatal against the five-in-a-row kings of Laois.

“It was very disappointing,” he told the Evening Herald. “I looked back at the video and it really was uncharacteristic for us. We pride ourselves on being very tight at the back.”

More positively, Byrne reckons the problem stemmed from mental fatigue more than anything else, as the Horeswood game represented their sixth consecutive weekend of championship action.

“You could see it even during the week of the build-up to the game,” he revealed. “It’s a testament that they kept going and came back in the second half. But we are under no illusions – if we give away three goals against Portlaoise, we’ll be in serious trouble ... Portlaoise are a hardened team and they know how to win these games.”

The irony is that, prior to the Leinster quarter-final, Brigid’s have been seeking a greater return from their forwards.

“The defence has probably kept us in it all year. So it was a role reversal, and we were happy to get through it,” Byrne outlined. But these guys give 100 percent and would die for each other.

“They have great character, a great team spirit, and a respect and honesty for each other.

“We have drilled that into them for the last two years: it’s all about the team and no one is bigger than the team.”

While Brigid’s were obviously delighted to see Dublin land Sam Maguire earlier this autumn, their mentor insisted that they haven’t been driven on by thoughts of trying to complete the perfect year for Dublin football.

“It’s great for the likes of Barry (Cahill) to win his All-Ireland and it’s great for Dublin, but we have just concentrated on our own game and doing ourselves justice,” Byrne explained.

“We didn’t think we performed last year (in the county final); we thought the occasion got to us and passed a couple of lads by.

“We said this year that, whatever we do, we are going to go all guns blazing and see if we are good enough.”

Brigid’s are reporting a clean bill of health with the exception of defender Conor Moran, who has been struggling with a hamstring problem since the Dublin SFC final. He returned to league action last weekend, but broke down in training last night.