Diamond sparks Vincent's celebrations
St Vincent's 1-9 Ballymun K'ms 1-8
IN the year the great Kevin Heffernan passed away, St Vincent's did the memory of their most influential member proud with a smash-and-grab win in last night's replayed decider.
The Marino men trailed for much of the game and when Cameron Diamond kicked the last score of the game with 30 seconds of normal time remaining, it was the first time they had led.
Curiously, it was the dismissal of Diarmuid Connolly with 55 minutes on the clock that sparked them into life.
With just a point between the sides, Connolly clashed with Philly McMahon amongst a melee of bodies and was given a straight red card. McMahon picked up his second yellow in the same incident, and that prompted a Vincent's resurgence.
Sub Kevin Golden kicked a wonderful free from a tight angle to level the game before Vincent's gave a masterclass in patience and worked Diamond into space to kick the winning score.
A St Vincent's win seemed unlikely for much of the game as Ballymun, largely through the promptings of Dean Rock, made much the brighter start.
Rock opened the scoring with a free and almost followed up immediately with a goal but he couldn't get a strong enough fist on a dropping delivery that had Vincent's goalkeeper Michael Savage in trouble.
He made no mistake with his next chance, however. His clever pass gave Ted Furman a brief sight of goal but, in an attempt to block the shot, Savage was deemed to have led with his feet. Rock hammered the penalty home to open up a four-point lead.
Ballymun's lightning start rattled even Connolly – the hero of the last day was dispossessed in front of his own goal by Furman, who stretched Paul Curran's side's lead to five points after as many minutes.
Connolly redeemed himself with St Vincent's first score from a tight angle as his side settled, with Mossy Quinn their leading light.
He might have goaled with an early touch only for his footing to give way. But the former Dublin star was getting some joy now and with the Ballymun full-back line creaking, he managed to draw enough attention to create an opening.
Ciaran Dorney got on the end of Quinn's pass for an open goal, and after another point from a Quinn free St Vincent's were suddenly level after the first quarter.
Curran looked to his bench and called on Derek Byrne but it was their free count that was letting them down.
Ballymun's tackling was hard, too hard at times for the referee's liking – at one stage in the first half they had been penalised twice as much as their opponents. But when they found the balance, they were able to exert significant pressure on St Vincent's.
Their discipline frustrated the Marino side and soon they were in the ascendancy again.
Everything Rock touched was turning to gold. He fired three points on the bounce to leave Kickhams 1-5 to 1-2 to the good at the break.
They led by four again immediately after half-time when Byrne opened his account. And while Vincent's battled hard, Ballymun held a two-point lead for much of the second half.
But Quinn and one superb virtuoso effort from Connolly kept Vincent's in the hunt as they found the superb Sean George and Co difficult to break down.
Rock fired over a 47-metre free that looked effortless before Liam O'Donovan sped away from three Vincent's defenders to fist a score to put three between the sides with 15 minutes to play.
Vincent's never gave up and Quinn put them within a point with a quickfire brace before the flashpoint with Connolly that really sparked them into life and led to the Dublin aristocrats securing only their second county title in 30 years.
There is little time for celebration as St Vincent's will return to action on Sunday when they face Westmeath champions St Loman's in Mullingar, with everyone aware the last time the Marino men emerged from Dublin it ended with victory on St Patrick's Day.
SCORERS – St Vincent's: T Quinn 0-5 (4fs), C Dorney 1-0, D Connolly 0-2, C Diamond, K Golden (f) 0-1 each. Ballymun Kickhams: D Rock 1-5 (1-0 pen, 0-4fs), L O'Donovan, Derek Byrne, T Furman 0-1 each.
St Vincent's – M Savage; M Concarr, J Curley, H Gill; C Diamond, G Brennan, B Egan; D Murphy, E Fennell; G Burke, D Connolly, S Carthy; R Trainor, C Dorney, T Quinn. Subs: K Golden for Murphy (40), A Baxter for Carthy (43), N Mullins for Dorney (55), R Pocock for Trainor (60).
Ballymun – S Currie; P McMahon, S George, E Dolan; A Hubbard, K Connolly, J Small; Davy Byrne, J McCarthy; E Reilly, A O'Brien, K Leahy; T Furman, D Rock, L O'Donovan. Subs: Derek Byrne for O'Brien (24), C Burke for O'Donovan (55), M Brady for Leahy (60).
Ref – D Sheppard.