TWO second-half goals from Kevin Flynn proved pivotal as St Vincent's overcame Scoil Uí Chonaill by 2-8 to 0-11 in their Dublin Adult Football League Division 4 Promotion final on the Clontarf Road last Sunday morning.
The win secured a quick return to AFL3 for the visitors following the disappointment of last year's relegation, with the momentum generated towards the end of the year helping Vinnies over the line against a talented Scoil side.
The defeat was a bitter pill to swallow for the hosts given they remained in contention for automatic promotion for most of the year. But the goal required to reignite their challenge was elusive as they fell short by three points, a fact conceded by boss Tommy Naughton. "We're really disappointed with the result, given we were up there with Castleknock for most of the year. It is a tough one to take," he said.
In a cagey opening half, the visitors led briefly through points from Ronan Doyle and Colm McCarthy, but a strong end to the half by Scoil was reflected in scores from Eoin O'Carroll and goalkeeper Andy Bunnion to ensure parity at the interval at 0-5 apiece.
The hosts kicked the opening score in the second half but, in the 35th minute, Flynn rose highest to punch to the net and his second goal arrived at the end of the third quarter as he availed of a defensive fumble to find the net and open up a six-point lead in the process.
Scoil fought back gamely with Dave Farrell and Michael McCloskey to the fore and reduced their arrears thanks to points by O'Carroll, Lewis Cassidy, the impressive Conor Coady and Paul Bohan to ensure the tie remained delicately poised for the final stages.
However, with Cameron Diamond and captain Cillian Murphy giving inspirational displays for the visitors, the Marino men had enough to spare thanks to crucial second-half points from Dermot Jordan, Doyle and Colm Hayden.
For manager Tom Byrne, who runs the team alongside Dermot Conroy, Norman Bernard, John Mulligan and John McKenna, the win was a fitting reward for the efforts of his charges over the year.
"We played Scoil earlier in the year and although we lost, we were confident of getting a result," said Byrne.
"Our target was promotion after getting relegated last year and the collective effort of all the lads has been immense all through the campaign."