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January 15, 2007

St. Brigid's - First Ever Kildare Senior Hurling Championship 1978

Leinster Leader report from October 1978 on St. Brigid's Hurling Club's sensational victory  over Ardclough in the County Senior Championship
Leinster Leader 14/10/1978, p. 8.
St. Brigid’s …………… 3-10;
Ardclough……………… 2-9.
THE LONG WAIT for St. Brigid’s ended at Droichead Nua last Sunday when they turned in a sparkling third quarter to win their first ever Kildare Senior Hurling Championship.
            Their opponents and victims of the day, the much-honoured Ardclough side, fought hard to regain a title they last won two years ago, but at the end of a first-class hour of close sporting hurling, they were forced to give best to a club which in its 29-year history had won every title except the illusive senior trophy.
            The winners, who had an earlier round win over the same opposition, were slight prematch [sic] favourites to lift the Sean Carey Cup but for long periods it seemed to the fair-sized crowd that their second appearance in a senior county decider (they lost to the same opposition two years ago), would again be a losing one.
            They won the toss but elected to play into the strong wind and this decision seemed to be ill-advised. The more experienced Ardclough side took an early grip on the exchanges and playing some lively hurling totted up some early scores.
            During their period of dominance, they were first to the ball, with St. Brigid’s lacking the bite shown in the earlier round and playing like a side somewhat overcome by the occasion. St. Brigid’s did show improvement in the second quarter and were afforded some golden scoring opportunities, but still could only manage one core [sic-score] in that first half, a goal. And when Ardclough led at the interval by 1-6 to 1-0, another title looked destined for Ardclough.
            But in the minutes after the changeover the whole scene changed. St. Brigid’s who had been listless in the first half, were a team transformed. Every sector showed a hundred per cent improvement. An early goal set the pattern and it was St. Brigd’s now who called the tune. Score followed score for St. Brigid’s and in a fifteen minute spell of brilliant hurling they added 2-4 to hit the front for the first time.
            Against this surprising pressure, the Ardclough defence began to falter and their fullback line in particular failed dismally to cope with the dashing St. Brigid’s attack. St. Brigid’s went five points clear but going into the last quarter slackened off somewhat and Ardclough with a goal hit back to get within two points of the leaders.
            But the winners defence defended heroically and with long serving Tommy Burke, sound all through the hour but tremendous under the severe Ardclough onslaught, clearing ball after ball, they held out. During that nailbiting finish Ardclough had their chances of salvaging the verdict, but they messed and missed and their failure to convert a late close-in free was a deciding factor.
            A close but merited win for a team that have had their share of ill-luck since their Junior title win of eight years ago. And it must be added a deserving reward for those hurling enthusiasts in the club who have kept plugging away seeking the number one title despite many setbacks. Club Chairman Ger Tiernan, for so long a member of their senior side, didn’t play on this memorable occasion, but all will agree that no one contributed more to this hard-won victory.
It was a fine team effort by the well trained and dedicated winning side and each member of the winning team must be applauded but for Tommy Burke, Jack and Mick O’Connell, John O’Leary, Pat White and Danny Rankins it was especially pleasing to share, after years of trying, in the club’s greatest triumph.
The losers battled right on to the final whistle and could have snatched it. But when on top they failed to wrap it up and for once their normally sound defence wilted under the St. Brigid’s third quarter pressure. The Walshes, Ned and Johnny, Dom Maguire, Bobby Burke, and Tommy Johnson were their most prominent players.
Referee, Mick Kelleher, Athy.

Leinster Leader report from October 1978 on St. Brigid's Hurling Club's sensational victory  over Ardclough in the County Senior Championship

[original spelling and grammar retained - mistakes identified by [sic] in text]

Posted by mariocorrigan at January 15, 2007 11:39 PM