Kickhams' watertight defence key to final quest
DUBLIN SFC FINAL
BALLYMUN KICKHAMS v ST VINCENT'S
(Parnell Park, Tomorrow, 3.0)
THIS could be a cracker. They met in the quarter-final 12 months ago. It was a Friday night. A marvellous match.
The lights were twinkling. There was a large audience. Ballymun Kickhams won it by a point. Dean Rock converted a difficult free in injury-time – from their the 'Mun kicked on and made it all the way to Croker on St Patrick's day.
People were saying that St Vincent's deserved extra-time in the Dublin semi. Diarmuid Connolly and Mossy Quinn had shivered the timber.
If it's as close on the biggest day of all, this enticing North Dublin derby will make for compulsive viewing.
Officials are predicting a huge attendance. There was a huge crowd at the semi-finals on Bank Holiday Monday night.
Connolly was majestic, he sent the paying customers home with a fish-and-chip supper. The next morning, all of Dublin city was talking about him over the Cornflakes.
He was the talk Down Under as well. Dubs in faraway Australia were following the action on NEAR FM (90.3). Fergus Carroll will again be at ringside tomorrow.
Connolly's boots looked like they had Paul Daniels hidden in the laces. He was bending the ball like Uri Geller. In Christy Moore language, this was not the performance of an ordinary man.
Paul Curran is planning to erect the road-blocks around Connolly Station. The champions are going for their fourth title, and their first back-to-back glories.
They secured the Clery Cup in such style last season. Time and again, Parnell Park was enraptured by their poetry.
They kept it simple. Soak up the puddles at the back and then break with pace and precision – few teams counter-attack with as much potency as Ballymun.
The championship success has given them the dollop of confidence. Even when they are not hitting the Q mark, they are content to bide their time, waiting for the passes to stick better, and for the doors to open.
That's what happened against St Jude's in the semi-final. Jude's had more of the first-half cake, but Ballymun eventually began to ease onto the motorway.
It was an effective, efficient display. There were no bells and whistles. They got the job done. Like champions do.
On their return journey to the final, they have also beaten Round Tower Clondalkin, Erin's Isle and Raheny.
Vincent's defeated Cuala, Na Fianna, St Sylvester's and Ballyboden St Enda's. They certainly impressed against 'Boden in the semi-final.
They were opening windows all over the building, and they decorated their work with four goals. They could have had a few more in the sack.
It's their first time back on the big stage since 2007. They beat Brigid's that day and went on to win the All-Ireland.
The 'Mun came within a knuckle of beating Roscommon's St Brigid's on St Patrick's Day. And the hardship of that defeat is, no doubt, a simmering motivation to get back to Croke Park.
But first things first. Dublin titles don't come free. And when Kickhams and Vins collide, there is never any shortage of excitement, bravery and a few sparks will also fly.
Tommy Conroy and co will hope that their celebrated double-act of Connolly and Quinn can again deliver but the back up from Ciarán Dorney and Shane Carthy will also be required.
The Marino men have one of the best 'keepers in the circuit in Michael Savage, and there's wisdom in the offerings of Hugh Gill, Ger Brennan and Michael Concarr.
The 'Mun number one, Seán Currie, also gets the best of protection. The holders have a tight, tackling full-back line, and their half-backs can quickly turn defence into attack.
James McCarthy will bring his customary tin of polish. At midfield Davey Byrne will graft for every last crumb for the 'Mun cause.
Kevin Leahy adds calibre. Ted Furman was sharp as a tack against Jude's, while Deano has the pedigree and all the class of the Rock of Gibraltar.
VERDICT: Ballymun Kickhams.
(Match live on DublinCityFM 103.2)