The trip to Kiltoom to face one of the strongest club teams in the land was never going to be an easy one for Melvin Gaels and while they acquitted themselves very well in the opening 20 minutes, the final scoreline makes for difficult reading for all associated with the club.
Speaking after the game Melvin Gaels manager Billy Gavigan acknowledged tried to pinpoint where it went wrong for his side. “We knew it was going to be tough, we knew they are a good side but after 20 minutes we were level or a point ahead and then we just lost our shape and within 10 minutes they scored seven points. We were trying to go forward too much in the second half to get the scores but they are a good side.
“It’s disappointing for the boys because they didn’t deserve to get beaten that way, they were better than that, hopefully they can have a few drinks and then get back to the league.”
Emlyn Mulligan’s first half penalty could have given the Leitrim champions a healthy lead but despite that miss Billy felt his side were still dictating matters.
“Normally he would put that away but then we came back and scored two or three points but one of the points the referee blew his whistle, he said it was palmed over the bar. How many times do people put that over the bar and they get away with it every time? That upset us more than the penalty I think because they came down the field and scored.
“You can’t ask for anymore, every team has a bad day, we had a bad 30 minutes.”
While the manner of the defeat was disappointing Billy was full of praise for his players stating, “They did the town proud over the year and I can’t ask any more.
“When I came took over, the boys were down and a lot of them were talking about packing in football. We have one game left to play and there would be a lot of clubs happy to be where we are today.”
Paying tribute to an excellent St Brigids team Billy commented, “They have a wealth of experience as well and there won’t be too many teams that will beat them, Crosmaglen might but that’s about it, there’s nothing in Connacht to touch them.”
While happy with the result and much of his teams performance St Brigids manager Kevin McStay wasn’t pleased with what he saw from his side during the opening exchanges. “The opening 20 minutes I wasn’t mad about. We were in the game we felt we were going to be in, that Melvin Gaels were really going to put it up to us.
“We were being killed on the break, we made one or two changes and once Karol (Mannion) and Ger (Aherne) started getting their hands on the ball in midfield I felt we were pretty snappy.”
Kevin acknowledged his sides domination of the later stages of the opening half was something that had been spoken about saying, “We targeted the last five minutes of the half, we thought the other team would back off, a lot of teams start looking at the dressing room and we said we were going to plough in to the last five minutes and we got three or four points in the last five