Wednesday 21 February 2018

I am trying to milk everything I can out of this - Quinn

St Vincent's veteran tells Donnchadh Boyle about facing down Father Time

Tomás Quinn. Photo: Sportsfile
Tomás Quinn. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

After picking up his fourth Dublin SFC title, Mossy Quinn wasn't in the mood for hanging around and collecting the garlands that were thrown at him following his man of the match performance in last Saturday's final. 

As time ticks on, he explained, you get more conscious that the end is coming. And while the body is willing, he's determined to keep the good times rolling.

St Vincent's have found their groove again since ending a 23-year wait for a senior title back in 2007 and Quinn (pictured) has been central to that revival.

Last Sunday marked their third Dublin title in four years, a significant achievement even for the decorated Marino club. And they could be sitting on four in a row this week but for defeat to Ballyboden in last year's final. 

It was a result that stung, largely because, Quinn admits, Vincent's minds were elsewhere going into that game. 

"I took last year hard," said Quinn who works as Dublin GAA's commercial and marketing manager. "There was a lot of. . . going for three in a row and we probably got caught up in a little bit of other stuff outside the game.

"Now guys are hungry. Our team has probably been the same for a couple of years and now there's a little bit of natural change in it.

"And that's probably no bad thing. We're still trying to push ourselves to get better.

"The big thing for us was preparation (against Castleknock). We probably didn't prepare properly for Ballyboden last year. We thought we knew them.

"But then Paul Durcan was a massive difference. Everyone knows Paul Durcan. But when you're actually out there, he killed us on kickouts last year.

"We'd never played Castleknock. So this wasn't just won today. We had to do a lot of preparation during the week. And our management were very good on that and players were very good on that."

Quinn puts Vincent's upturn in fortunes since that breakthrough win in 2007 - which has seen them win three Leinster and two All-Ireland titles - down to better "standards" in the club.

"For the first seven or eight years when I was here, we just weren't good enough," he said. "We just didn't have the players. And the standards probably weren't good enough, the culture, people weren't demanding enough of each other.

"Mickey (Whelan) changed that. A couple of players tried to change that. And we've tried to keep that bar as high as we can, rather than falling back in. And that is the thing: we are an experienced squad, so there is that fear that we'll fall back into the pack.

"And we know this has a shelf-life. I mean, I'm 35. I'm very conscious of it. I'm trying to milk everything I can out of it.

"I love being out here. But I know this isn't going to last for too much longer.

"I think there's an understanding of that within our group. And we accept it. We're not afraid to talk about it.

"We're not afraid to say this is our fourth final, but let's be honest: if we won two and lost two, it would give a very different look on what the team is remembered for.

"We spoke about that. And look, we're very fortunate to come from a great club. But what happened in the past is nothing to do with us. We're trying to create our own thing."

The next quest for silverware starts in Sunday when Vincent's visit Netwatch Cullen Park to take on Carlow champions Palatine.

"We will celebrate it for a couple of days. But we've been very good in the past about parking on the Tuesday or whenever and giving thought to whenever next week is," said Quinn.

"And genuinely, I don't know where next week is. Because I know last year, one or two of us coming up to the final were looking at dates, saying "when's this on?' or 'when's that on? I genuinely have no clue when. And it's hard. I've nearly gone out of my way.

"I've been paranoid not to find that out because it was one of those things, one of the learnings that we took from last year was . . . because we had two previous runs in Leinster. . . we were looking at dates and stupid stuff.

"But we'll give it a lash for a few days. And then get back at it."

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