St. Vincent’s crowned champions courtesy of Connolly masterclass
St. Vincent's 4-12 Castlebar Mitchels 2-11
Diarmuid Connolly gave a footballing exhibition for St. Vincent’s as the Dublin side condemned Castlebar Mitchells to All-Ireland Final heartbreak at Croke Park today.
The inter-county star was in irresistible form at centre-forward and finished with a tally of 2-05 in a highly entertaining game of football.
The Dublin champions got off to a good start when Shane Carthy got the opening score of the game before Richie Feeney was black-carded within five minutes.
On ten minutes Vincent’s raised the green flag for the first time when an inch-perfect pass from Diarmuid Connolly found the onrushing wing-back Michael Concarr to hit the back of the net.
This however sparked the Mayo champions into action as they reeled off six points in a row wit Tom King, Neil Lydon, Barry Moran and Neil Douglas among the scorers, with Moran in particular proving to be an effective target man yet again.
After 17 minutes without a score, the Dublin outfit bagged their second goal of the final through Ciaran Dorney.
Neat interplay set it up with Ruairi Trainor offloading to Connolly who unselfishly fisted the ball across for Dorney to palm to an empty net.
Moran hit the final score of the half to leave the sides level at the interval on a score line of 2-03 to 0-09.
Despite King getting the first score on the resumption it was Vincent’s who made the early running, with points from Carthy and Connolly, who caused serious problems with his surging runs, plus frees from the ever-green Mossy Quinn extending the lead.
Then we witnessed a couple of rapid-fire goals at GAA HQ. First Danny Kirby showed a poacher’s instinct to stem the Vincent’s tide, his shot finding its way into the net to put Mitchels back in front.
The response however was immediate with the outstanding Connolly palming to the net after another flick to restore a two-point lead in what was now a pulsating contest.
The centre-forward was in top form and his point off the left boot, after a dummy to his right with ten minutes to go left Castle bar trailing by four points before a scintillating piece of skill two minutes later effectively wrapped up the game.
In possession around the 21 metre line, he dropped the ball with the defence closing in. With a nonchalant flick of his right foot he scooped the ball up without breaking stride and rifled the ball to the net with his left and tacked on another point immediately afterwards.
Kirby added a second goal after a barrelling run from Barry Moran, but it was not enough with the clock against Mitchels, who came out second best in a goal bonanza on St. Patrick’s Day.