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Mossy is man with answers yet again


Mossy Quinn in action

Mossy Quinn in action

Mossy Quinn in action

WE WERE all a smidgen tipsy on the fine wine that is Mossy Quinn in Newry on Saturday night.

It's been his year.

In the eyes of this paper, Quinn has now been man of the match in seven of St Vincent's last nine matches, stretching back as far as the Dublin SFC quarter-final win over St Sylvester's and including Saturday's AIB All-Ireland Club SFC semi-final victory (2-14 to 1-13) over Ballinderry, in which he regally accumulated 1-8 (0-4f, 0-1 '45).

"One-eight?!" gasped Vin's manager Tommy Conroy when questioned on the generosity of Quinn's donation to the scoreboard. "God, I didn't realise that ... that'll tell you. One-eight? Was it one-eight?! That just goes to show you the type of form he's in. Delighted with it."

And, in the 10 matches since May 8 and the launch of this latest compelling St Vincent's odyssey against Cuala in Parnell Park, Dublin, football's Benjamin Button has amassed 2-64 (0-33f, 0-5 '45), an average contribution of exactly seven points a game.

Not a single element of that running total, however, was quite so exquisite as the ball to Ciarán Dorney for Vincent's second goal on Saturday in Páirc Esler, a score that put them six points ahead and early enough that Ballinderry were prompted to force the issue a little too soon and subsequently run out of puff.

A pass that revealed Quinn's inner Mesut Özil.

Nor did the TG4 camera angle do justice to the vision, ambition and magnificence of the execution of the kick.

For when he collected the ball, turned and surveyed the landscape, Quinn would have spotted his own marker Kevin McGuckin between Dorney and Ballinderry 'keeper Michael Conlon.

Instinctively, he angled the ball with just enough weight that it fell far enough in front of Dorney to make up the ground on McGuckin, but not so far that his teammate couldn't beat Conlon to the ball too.

Sexy football.

Which isn't to make light of his own goal, a turn and perfectly-placed shot from 20 metres out, the first and clearest sign on the night that Vincent's had managed the chunk of idle time since their Leinster final win on December 8 as usefully as possible.

"You coach a kid every day from seven years of age, but you might never be able to coach him to finish like that," said teammate Éamon Fennell.

"When he gets an inch, he's going to take it. It's just class. That's what it is."

At different stages of the win, Quinn was aided and abetted by various characters in a sprightly supporting cast who, almost to a man, popped up at different times to pitch in.

Michael Concarr, for instance, isn't shy about showing off his awesome pace and certainly, he had no qualms about running 80 metres to set up Quinn's goal.

Tiernan Diamond, a replacement for Ruairí Trainor, moved the ball quickly, a la 2008, and won some useful breaks in the first half.

Fennell – master of the hop ball – got motoring late, but between himself and Daithí Murphy, they destroyed Ballinderry's kick-out and gorged on their own.

And, as is his wont, Diarmuid Connolly turned an anonymous evening into a very good one, kicking three points when Vincent's needed them most.

"He spoke to me about it inside and I won't use the words he said," revealed Conroy afterwards.

"But it was like going from the bad to the good. But again, when we needed Diarmuid, he stood up. You can't ask any more than that."

In all probability, though, Quinn would have scored a decent bit more had the ball found one of the clear patches of land either side of him more regularly.

Certainly, Ballinderry's tactic of plonking – Kevin McGuckin (amongst others), a fellow veteran – albeit one that actually shows his age – on top of Quinn and leaving him without the benefit of any near-lying sweeper, did not work well.

"Teams generally drop men back or there is a little bit of protection, but they are a good team and they obviously back themselves," Quinn mused afterwards.


"We back ourselves too. It's a great challenge. If you go out and shake your man's hand, you know it's you against him."

Which, on the basis of his display on Saturday, may very well not be the case on St Patrick's Day when Vincent's go searching for their second All-Ireland title in six years, their third in total, against Castlebar Mitchels, who added another skeleton to Dr Crokes already squashed closet on Saturday.

Against that, Croke Park should be a racetrack for their impressive pace and Ger Brennan and Trainor should both be available again for selection.

"Who won the other game?" asked Quinn as he stood on the pathway back to the St Vincent's dressing-room after his pièce de résistance had concluded.

"Castlebar," came the reply.

"There you are," he shrugged.

"It just shows you that we need to get ready. You can't spend a week in party mode with everyone else."