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St Vincents firmly on Rhode to glory after retaining Leinster club championship

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Tomas Quinn, St Vincent's, celebrates after scoring a goal. AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final, Rhode v St Vincent's, Pairc Táilteann, Navan, Co. Meath.

Tomas Quinn, St Vincent's, celebrates after scoring a goal. AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final, Rhode v St Vincent's, Pairc Táilteann, Navan, Co. Meath.

St Vincent's Diarmuid Connolly, right, celebrates with team-mate Shane Carthy

St Vincent's Diarmuid Connolly, right, celebrates with team-mate Shane Carthy

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Tomas Quinn, St Vincent's, celebrates after scoring a goal. AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final, Rhode v St Vincent's, Pairc Táilteann, Navan, Co. Meath.

A little context. Not since 1997 has a club - Éire Óg of Carlow - retained a Leinster club Championship.

You've to go back five years to the Thomas Davis team of Paul Curran for the most recent Dublin back-to-back winner.

And it's 33 years (1981) since St Vincent's were actually beaten in the province, a span of time which now includes four successful expeditions.

"We won it last year and it is a difficult thing for the players themselves, to get their appetite back," mused their m r, Tommy Conroy yesterday after Leinster was again fully annexed in a bitterly cold Páirc Tailteann.

"And it's a long season.

"I think we played our first Championship match in Dublin in April and then we're playing the final in October.

applying

"It's a long time for guys that are just holding jobs and have young families at home.

"It is a difficult thing and they've been very good about that. They spoke about it. They've been really very good about applying themselves to that part of it."

Yet as it happened, there was a level of comfort to their afternoon St Vincent's probably haven't enjoyed since their Dublin quarter-final.

Rhode arrived in the high confidence granted by almost perennial local success and a handsome win over Moorefield.

More.

They entered the pitch to a din far more expectant and boisterous to that of the reigning champions and they tore into the task like men determined not to make it a fourth losing Leinster final for the club in nine years.

But through a mixture of Vincent's inherent class and their own figety underperformance, Vincent's were home and hosed long before the final whistle, at which point they were nursing a 1-13 to 0-6 lead.

"It didn't happen," acknowledged Rhode's manager, Pat Daly.

"We just don't' get a foothold in the game early on and that's down to Vincent's.

"They were excellent, strength, power, people talk about Diarmuid Connolly and Tomas Quinn and all these fellas, but, Jesus, St. Vincent's have a serious outfit, serious pace, power and strength and we just couldn't live with it today."

Which is as succinct an explanation of the day as you'll read.

Yesterday, the Vincent's defence played hard ball. Their tackling was technically excellent and always brave and thus, when Diarmuid Connolly put Mossy Quinn in (now officially the most natural succession since night began following day) with a sublime pass in the 11th minute, Rhode's only hope was that Vincent's would suffer those doses of narcolepsy that almost smeared their last two matches in Leinster.

They didn't.

And everything went askew for Rhode.

Their kick outs-played literally and figuratively into the hands of Eamonn Fennell and big Daithi Murphy.

Their own approach play was slow and laboured and when they did get it in to Niall McNamee - rather than nearly choking Ger Brennan by kicking ball down his throat - he was always well guarded by Jarlath Curley, Hugh Gill - or both.

It was 1-5 to 0-2 at half-time and the roar to greet Rhode for the start of the second half wasn't nearly so rollicking.

Rhode even lost their captain Páraic Sullivan to two yellow cards in the space of six minutes at the start of the second half.

procession

And from there, it became a procession, even if Michael Savage did pull off a great close range save from Eoin Rigney late on.

"It's probably not a consolation, but it's the truth," said Daly when asked whether there was any mitigation in being beaten by a team that would put it up to most counties.

"They are as good as probably a lot of inter county teams in Ireland at the moment."

"That's what we have to learn from, we have to see how Dublin are doing it, move on and try to do the right things."

For Vincent's there's the now familiar long wait over Christmas and New Year for an All-Ireland semi-final meeoing against a Corofin team with whom they wake up this morning as joint All-Ireland favourites.

"There was a pal of mine from Galway in touch with me earlier this year saying 'watch out for Corofin,' admitted Conroy.

"I said 'God, are they that good?' He said 'I'm telling you now Tommy, this team, they are exceptional.'

"I think they have great structures at underage and I have been very impressed with them looking at who they beat in Connacht.

"It's something to look forward to, it's great to be back in an All-Ireland semi-final."

For now though, there's the achievement of greatness to enjoy.

SCORERS - St Vincent's: T Quinn 1-4 (0-2f), G Burke, Cormac Diamond 0-2 each, B Egan, D Connolly, R Trainor, S Carthy, C Dorney 0-1 each. Rhode: N Darby (1f), N McNamee (1f) 0-2 each, C McNamee, A Sullivan 0-1 each.

ST VINCENT'S: M Savage; J Curley, H Gill, J Curley; B Egan, G Brennan, M Concarr; E Fennell, D Murphy; G Burke, D Connolly, S Carthy; R Trainor, Q Quinn, C Dorney. Subs: Cormac Diamond for Burke (47), T Diamond for Trainor (51), Cameron Diamond for Fennell (56), M Loftus for Murphy (60), A Baxter for Dorney (60).

RHODE: K Garry; K Kavanagh, E Rigney, J McPadden; C Heavy, B Darby, E Byrne; A McNamee, C McNamee; N Darby, P Sullivan, G O'Connell; P McPadden, A Sullivan, N McNamee. Subs: .

WIDES - St Vincent's: 7 (4 + 3). Rhode: 8 (7 + 1).

BOOKED - St Vincent's: 1 (Connolly 39). Rhode: 3 (P Sullivan 33 & 39, S Sullivan 39).

SENT OFF - St Vincent's: 0. Rhode: 1 (P Sullivan 39, second yellow)

REF: A Nolan (Wicklow)

ATTENDANCE: 4,000 (Est)

MAN OF THE MATCH: Brendan Egan (St Vincent's).


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