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Thursday 26 April 2018

It's a blue-and-white Monday as St Vincent's celebrate

At the Hurling All Ireland Club Final between Portumna and Mount Leinster Rangers were fans Ian McAul and Ann Cody. Photo: El Keegan
At the Hurling All Ireland Club Final between Portumna and Mount Leinster Rangers were fans Ian McAul and Ann Cody. Photo: El Keegan
At the All Ireland Club Final between St Vincent's and Castlebar Mitchels were Aisling Byrne and son Mark (7). Photo: El Keegan

Joanna Kiernan and Mark O'Regan

One of Dublin's great Gaelic football strongholds was festooned in a sea of blue and white last night as St Vincent's celebrated All-Ireland glory.

All around Marino, Donnycarney and parts of Fairview, the club colours fluttered proudly, signalling the latest success for the club synonymous with the late, great Kevin Heffernan.

It meant more Croke Park heartache for Mayo as St Vincent's saw off the challenge of Castlebar Mitchels to come out on top by 4-12 to 2-11 in the All-Ireland club final.

"It's just magic,'' said former Dubs manager and player, and long-time club stalwart, Pat Gilroy.

The players marked their win with a celebratory meal and reception in Clontarf Castle, where they were joined by hundreds of happy fans.

But it was a lonely road home for Castlebar Mitchels. "It's very disappointing, but it's a huge achievement for the boys and we're very proud of them," said Catherine Gannon, whose son plays for Castlebar Mitchels and whose husband is chairman of the Mayo club.

There were others, however, like Mark Byrne (7) for whom the loss was too difficult to put into words.

"We have a very disappointed little boy here," his mother Aisling said. "But we are proud of Castlebar Mitchels still and we'll be back next year."

For the hurling final which opened proceedings yesterday, fans of Mount Leinster Rangers travelled to Croke Park dreaming of a giant-killing but in the end it wasn't to be.

But for the supporters from Borris in Co Carlow, their players will always be heroes despite succumbing to the mighty Portumna, featuring Galway star Joe Canning.

Rangers won the hearts and minds of the 30,000 crowd as they became the first Carlow team to contest an All-Ireland hurling final.

Despite losing 0-19 to 0-11, their fans emerged from the stadium beaming with pride.

"We're disappointed obviously, but it's just the way it went on the day," Ann Coady, whose four brothers play for Mount Leinster Rangers, told the Irish Independent.

"We'll take today. We were up against a fantastic team. It didn't go our way but we've had a fantastic year and I'm really proud of the four boys.

"I think 15 buses pulled off from outside our little town today," Ann added.

The Portumna fans enjoyed their team's fourth All-Ireland victory.

Marie Doyle and her extended family made the pilgrimage from Co Galway. Her three-month-old son Eoin was making his first visit to Croker.

"This is his first match in Croke Park," said the proud mum, "he was at the county final in my belly!"

Afterwards they were heading west for a big party.

Club finals special: Sport

Irish Independent

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