Tuesday 17 July 2018

Rathnew shock St. Vincent's with upset win in Leinster Senior Club Football Championship

Rathnew 1-13 St. Vincent's 1-9

Diarmuid Connolly of St Vincent's in action against Damien Power and Theo Smith of Rathnew during the AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Quarter-Final match between Rathnew and St Vincent's at Joule Park in Aughrim, Wicklow. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Diarmuid Connolly of St Vincent's in action against Damien Power and Theo Smith of Rathnew during the AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Quarter-Final match between Rathnew and St Vincent's at Joule Park in Aughrim, Wicklow. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Conor McKeon

Conor McKeon

RATHNEW caused a sensation today in Aughrim, defeating Leinster club champions St. Vincent’s by 1-13 to 1-9.

The Wicklow club went into the day as 15/2 outsiders but a late James Stafford goal sent Aughrim into raptures and crowned another famous day for the club who won a Leinster title in 2001 when they upset a star-studded Na Fianna team in the provincial final.

The first half passed without major incident and Rathnew a point up yet the suspicion that Vincent’s would do just the necessary lingered.

Right up until Stafford's goal after a brilliant one-handed fetch, St. Vincent's looked the likelier winners but an uncustomary sloppiness up front undid them.

It appeared as though Brian Mullins’ team would stealthily edge into a sufficient lead when they went 0-4 to 0-1 up midway through the half but Rathnew finished the half strongly.

On a heavy pitch and amid a stiff cross-field gale, precision football wasn’t for all that, Vincent’s found space when they moved the ball long and quickly.

Shane Carthy provided an constant outlet.

Handling errors and poor shooting – including three shots dropped short – during the half hurt Vincent’s and provided encouragement for Rathnew.

Leighton Glynn, one of three men who started yesterday that played in that 2001 Leinster final victory over Na Fianna, gave their attack some zip and Stafford, a totemic presence around the middle.

Points from Glynn and Ross O’Brien were the scoring highlights of the half, although Tomás Quinn’s ’45 was also immaculately struck given the conditions.

Rathnew came out for the second half and pinched two points within the first 90 seconds and with Connolly an increasingly peripheral figure and Brennan gone with an injury midway through the half, Vincent’s looked vulnerable.

The game looked to be turning back in their favour in the 46th minute when Quinn palmed home a squared ball from Enda Varley but the Marino side stalled.

Indeed, it proved to be their last score of the game.

Rathnew went level and with two minutes to play, struck a timely blow.

Ross O’Brien’s effort dropped short but Stafford fetched with one hand on the edge of the square, spun and buried the ball past Michael Savage.

Stafford kicked another in injury-time to cap a memorable individual performance and confirm another famous Aughrim ambush.

SCORERS – Rathnew: J Stafford 1-2,  M Doyle 0-4 (3f), E Doyle 0-3 (2f), L Glynn 0-2, P Merrigan, R O’Brien 0-1 each. Vincent’s: T Quinn 1-3 (0-2f, 0-1 ’45), G Burke, D Connolly (f), R Trainor, S Carthy 0-1 each.

RATHNEW: P Dignam; P Merrigan, D Power, J Snell; W Kavanagh, R O’Brien, E Glynn; J Stafford, T Smith; G Merrigan, L Glynn, D Staunton; S Byrne, M Doyle, E Doyle. Subs: J Manley for Staunton (52), J Merrigan for Byrne (58)

ST. VINCENT’S: M Savage; M Concarr, J Curley, C Wilson; F Breathnach, G Brennan, L Sheehy; L Galvin, D Murphy; G Burke, S Carthy, Cormac Diamond; E Varley, D Connolly, T Quinn. Subs: E Fennell for Galvin (35), R Trainor for Diamond (40), J McCusker for Brennan (44), J Feeney for Murphy (52), T Diamond for Burke (61)

REF: D Gough (Meath)

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