| 16.5°C Dublin

focus the key for vincent's

OVER in Páirc Naomh Uinsionn, it's all about focus.

Their right half-forward, Gavin Burke, came off the pitch following the semi-final victory over Ballyboden St Enda's and as he made his way into the pavilion, he asked who had won the earlier semi-final between St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh and St Jude's.

The Marino men had not dared look beyond their semi-final until the deal was done.

Last year, Gavin kicked six superb points in the final against Ballymun Kickhams.

It was a marvellous display from the brilliant right half-forward.

Some of his points were collectors items. From way out on the right, he'd take aim, and over she'd sail.

The final went to a replay. Stirring stuff under the lights.

Vins prevailed, and much more was to come and they went all the way to Croke Park to collect All-Ireland gold.

But Gavin insists that's all in the past now. "We have forgotten about last year. This is a new season, and that is all we are thinking about.

"As far as we are concerned, last year is irrelevant now. We are just fully concentrating on the final."

And what a finale that should be - the Vinnie's against Plunkett's. in Parnell Park this Monday (7.45)

"It will be a great occasion. It's good to be back in the county final. It's a nice achievement for the club and where else would you want to be in October."

The long miles have not slowed the Marino Waltz. "We are keeping the journey going. It's game by game. That's how we approach it.

"The standards have gone up again this year. And we have to raise our own level to meet those standards. Every challenge is different, and it's going to be hard again against Plunkett's now in the final."

Gavin covers the Donnycarney turf. He's brings a strong, elegant presence to the half-forward line.

He has the maestro. Diarmuid Connolly, for company, and up ahead is another Marino marvel, Mossy Quinn.

Gavin's industry and vision often opens up the road for that duo, and he has plenty of willing helpers in attack like Shane Carthy, Ciarán Dorney and the man that runs marathons, Ruairí Trainor.

Connolly is a priceless diamond, but as the Vincent's manager, Tommy Conroy says: "We have good players around him."

And one of those is Gavin who will be looking to find the car spaces on the Navan Road. That won't be easy. The Plunkett's defensive structure is very solid. But he had a sound dress rehearsal against Ballyboden St Enda's in the semi-final last week.

Coming down to the last couple of fences, there were only two points in it.

Vins had seven to spare in the end, but that didn't reflect the debate.

"When we pushed up late on, they got in for a few soft scores," reflected Boden boss, Andy McEntee.

"We were happy enough with our performance in the semi-final," remarks Gavin. "We knew what Boden were going to be like.

"We have had tough games in the campaign, and the Boden match was no different.

"They gave us a close game in the semi-final last year and it was tough again the last day.

"It was just great to get over it, but now it's all about getting ready for the final."

As far as we are concerned, last year is irrelevant now. We are just fully concentrating on the final.

- Gavin Burke