St Vincent’s are the newly crowned kingpins of Dublin football after they dispatched of favourites Ballymun Kickhams in Parnell Park on Wednesday and will now play St Lomans of Mullingar.
The 13/8 underdogs were full value for their win and were overall deserving conquerors that should have been further ahead come the final whistle.
A more comfortable full forward line in which Mossy Quinn sparkled was the difference on a night where in the first half, Philly McMahon was finding the combination of space and Quinn’s menacing runs hard to handle.
While the standard did not reach the impeccable heights of the drawn game due to slippery underfoot conditions, it made up for it in excitement with two red cards handed out to county team-mates Philly McMahon and Vincents ace Diarmuid Connolly in the 51st minute, enthralling the packed out Donnycarney venue.
St Vincent’s like the first day took a while to settle into the game and found themselves five points down after a coolly dispatched penalty by the ever threatening Dean Rock and a Ted Furman point.
However settle they did, and the reliable Connolly was on hand to register their first score with a direct run at an uncomfortable looking Ballymun defence. They were guilty of spurning the next few chances, however with Ruairi Trainor showing well out in front, it was not long before they found themselves in front of goal, again Quinn in space the supplier, substitute Brendan Egan the finisher. An easy finish to Sean Currie’s net after some slack marking.
By the 18th minute, the teams were level and an unusual miss from a Connolly free was followed by a much needed score from Dean Rock over his shoulder at the other end. He followed this up with another well taken free in the 23rd minute albeit intermittent misses from both finalists.
It was the 2012 champions that finished the half stronger similar to the drawn game with a Rock free leaving three points in it at the break. Ballymun 1-05 Vincents 1-02
Ballymun piled on the pressure at the start of the 2nd half and Derek Byrne found himself in welcome space to fire over and increase the lead to four points. Almost out of retaliation, Vincents just kept cancelling out the advantage as Mossy pointed after a foul on Trainor. He followed shortly with another as Brendan Egan was brought to ground. Ballymun guilty of inviting the runner, giving away yet another free.
McCarthy was next to draw the referees whistle as he won an easy free. Rock cleared the bar with aplomb from 45 metres.
However it was the Vincents forwards who were finding the scores easier to come by and the crowd owed gratitude for the next one. Fennell delivered a ball towards Connolly who jinked athletically, before selling a dummy to fire over off his left. It was a cut above what was witnessed throughout the game. A confidence was growing in the underdogs even though they still trailed by two points.
Substitute Conor Weir fisted over a superb individual effort for Ballymun as the game became more sluggish with lots of stops and starts. Again though, Quinn proving the thorn in the Ballymun side was on hand to score from play, followed up by a pointed free after McMahon fouled.
Connolly was then shown the line after he received a straight red. His counterpart followed in the resulting melee.
From there, Vincents never really looked back and found a confidence as goal scorer from last day out Kevin Golden pointed to draw the game. They had a ruthless ambition to their game over the next few minutes, and were more clever, hungrier and a tad more ascendant then their opposition.
The winning point was taken by half back Cameron Diamond as Vincents led for the first time in the game at the most perfect time. St Vincents, the new champions in the capital for the first time since 2006.
In truth, they owe a deep sense of gratitude to Man of the match Quinn who was exceptional throughout. In slippery conditions, his first touch was exceptional and the corner forward showed a fantastic spatial awareness all through. Praise must go to their full back line also who kept the ever dangerous Rock limited from play. They now face the Westmeath champions St Loman’s in the first round of the Leinster campaign next Sunday. They must however overcome this obstacle without talisman Connolly.
A four day turn around might seem cruel, but you won’t find many complaining in St Vincent’s after a most fantastic victory. They have the artillery to go far in the Leinster campaign, yet the loss of Connolly could prove detrimental.