Monday 22 January 2018

Gutsy St Vincent's come up trumps against Westmeath champions


Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

All-Ireland winner Tommy Conroy hailed his team of bravehearts after this victory and said: "They were fantastic – even if they like to do it the hard way."

All-Ireland winner Tommy Conroy hailed his team of bravehearts after this victory and said: "They were fantastic – even if they like to do it the hard way."

Conroy couldn't conceal his delight after St Vincent's completed a torrid seven days in which they faced severe examinations of their character and came up trumps.

Last Sunday, they forged a draw after extra-time in the Dublin senior final against holders Ballymun Kickhams; on Wednesday, they had Diarmuid Connolly sent off in the replay but won by a point; and then yesterday, they overcame the loss of Ger Brennan, who was red-carded after just seven minutes, to defeat St Loman's.

"I played on some good Vincent's teams, and I watched some great Vincent's teams, but that team, what they did against Ballymun and what they did today, it's just fantastic," said Conroy. "We were down in the second half and to turn it around shows great character."

The Dublin champions now have two weeks before they face Meath's Summerhill and Conroy quipped: "It feels like a month to us."

Vincent's can regroup and refocus after the physical and mental toll of the last week, but they have shown how difficult they will be to beat – even without Brennan and Connolly.

Club officials will examine the video of the incident involving Brennan and St Loman's Kelvin Reilly before deciding whether to appeal the red card.

The incident was not seen by many in the crowd or by the referee, but he was called back to the scene, and after the referee consulted with his linesmen and umpires, Brennan got his marching orders.

At that time, the sides had 0-1 each on the scoreboard, but shortly before the incident, Vincent's 'keeper Michael Savage made two crucial blocks in quick succession from close-range shots from Kelvin Reilly.

A goal at that stage would have lifted Loman's, but when the second save resulted in a '45', Paul Sharry hit that wide, leaving the Mullingar side without even a point from that raid.

The determined Vincent's defence, ably marshalled by Jarlath Curley at full-back, did not allow St Loman's another clearcut goal attempt.

The home side's talisman, John Heslin scored 0-4 overall (two from frees), but he was not on his best form, and in this low-scoring game, every miss counted.

St Loman's manager Declan Rowley conceded this was a missed opportunity for his side. "Yeah, there's no doubt about that. You'd have to say that it was stacked up for us there today," he said.

"If we had a little bit more experience, maybe if we'd been out of Westmeath a year or two before, we'd have had that experience to drive it on and we may have been able to pull it over the line because it really was stacked in our favour.


"We made mistakes and it was a little bit of inexperience I think that counted in the end."

Vincent's Tomas 'Mossie' Quinn was heroic. He took buckets of physical punishment, worked his socks off, and contributed seven points to the cause.

Defenders Michael Concarr, Hugh Gill and Brendan Egan typified the focus and application of the back men, while Eamonn Fennell gave a strong display in midfield.

Up front, Adam Baxter foraged hard alongside Quinn, with Ciaran Dorney and Ruaidhri Trainor wearing 14 and 13 respectively, but operating around the middle third. Vincent's scored their sixth point of the game – a free by Quinn – in the 24th minute.

Two minutes later, Loman's Willie McGovern drilled the ball over the crossbar for his team's fourth score and the scoreline stayed at 0-6 to 0-4 up to half-time.

Loman's, inspired by hard-working Paul Sharry, raised their game early in the second half. John Heslin found his range to clip over points from two frees to level the scores after 40 minutes and Shane Dempsey's 44th- minute point finally got Loman's ahead at 0-7 to 0-6.

The game was up for grabs from then on as Quinn, from a free, brought the Dubliners' tally to 0-7 in the 48th minute – 24 minutes after their previous score.

Vincent's subs – Kevin Bonnie, Shane Carthy, Kevin Golden, Daithi Murphy and Nathan Mullins – all helped to keep their team's fight alive, and in the closing stages, the Vins refused to countenance defeat.

Quinn hit a vital 58th-minute point to put Vincent's ahead by 0-10 to 0-9. Extra-time was a possibility, but a gutsy run by full-back Curley opened the way for corner-forward Trainor to clinch the result with a well-taken point.

Scorers – St Vincent's: T Quinn 0-7 (5fs, '45'), C Dorney 0-2, R Trainor, G Burke 0-1 each. St Loman's: J Heslin 0-4 (2fs), K Reilly, S Dempsey 0-2 each, W McGovern 0-1.

St Vincent's – M Savage; M Concarr, J Curley, H Gill; C Diamond, G Brennan, B Egan; M Loftus, E Fennell; G Burke, T Diamond, A Baxter; R Trainor, C Dorney, T Quinn. Subs: K Bonnie for T Diamond (20), S Carthy for G Burke (33), K Golden for M Loftus (37), D Murphy for A Baxter (41), N Mullins for C Dorney (57).

St Loman's – S Gallagher; S Gilmore, S Flynn, J O'Toole; P Dowdall, G Glennon, D Rushe; C Kilmurray, W McGovern; E Price, K Reilly, C Reilly; P Sharry, J Heslin, S Dempsey. Subs: C Cochrane for D Rushe (26), A Carroll for P Dowdall (50), G Hickey for C Reilly (57).

REF – D Brazil (Offaly)

Irish Independent

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