Sweet Revenge for St Brigid's Kennedy and Browne 2016-09-25 11:14:00

Just two weeks after losing a terrific singles final to Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy, St Brigid’s Eoin Kennedy and McCarthy again came face to face in Croke Park, this time in the Senior Doubles Semi-final.

As defending champions from 2015, the St Brigid’s pair of Kennedy and his partner Carl Browne were expected to come through but as always in sport they had to earn their victory. Last weekend they were made to work hard  in their quarter final against the Roscommon pair of Damian Martin and Rikki O’Gara, eventually winning through in a three game victory. This time a similar story emerged. McCarthy and his partner David McAuliffe got off to the brighter start  and raced into an 8-0 lead. McCarthy was playing great handball and ably supported by McAuliffe they were dominant in the rallies with the Dublin pair only gradually coming into the game. Their experience showed however as they refused to panic and gradually began to find their form. Trailing 4-14 and later 6-18, they won four points in a row to bring the game to 10-18. It looked like they could make a contest of the first but Westmeath, appreciating the danger of a Dublin revival, closed the game out 21-10.

On the re-start, Westmeath again were in the ascendency leading 3-0. Kennedy and Browne showed however that a changed strategy was beginning to show dividends. Serving low and hard down the right they began to draw weaker returns from the Westmeath players and were able to gain greater control of the front court, setting up rally finishing shots. A terrific passing shot by Kennedy brought them to 7-3 and two further kills by the Dublin players resulted in a 9-3 lead. A Kennedy kill won their 12th point and Browne quickly followed with a superb corner roll out to lead 15-3. Westmeath were still fighting hard and brought the score back to 16-7 but a few minutes later the St Brigid’s pair had drawn the match by winning the second game 21-8.

The beginning of the third and deciding game saw both teams swapping points with Dublin training 1-0 and then leading 2-1. Some terrific passages of play by both pairs saw the game tied at 5 each, before Dublin gained the upper hand, going on a roll to lead 10-5. Yet another lung-bursting rally was finished by a Kennedy kill shot in the left corner and the next rally was finished by Browne with a superb long distance kill in the same corner. Two perfect serves to the butt of the right side wall gained the Dublin pair a very welcome two easy points to lead 14-6 and from then on it was clear that they had the measure of the Westmeath team. Leads of 18-8 and 19-11 were converted into a match winning 21-11 third game victory, to the delight of the Dublin following.

This fine win was a welcome one for the St Brigid’s players as it means that they are nback in the final for the second year running. They will now play Meath’s Tom Sheridan and Brian Carroll in the All-Ireland final, which will take place at the Croke Park venue on Saturday 10th October. The Meath pair had a very convincing win 21-9, 21-6 against Mayo’s Dessie Keegan and Joe McCann and must go into the final as slight favourites, having won the title on five previous occasions. The St Brigid’s pair however, as current champions will take the battle to the Meath pair in what should be an intriguing final.

So Croke Park on the afternoon of Saturday 8th October will be the place to be to see the latest “Clash of Champions”.

St Brigids GAA Club,
Russell Park, Navan Road, Dublin 15