Saturday 24 March 2018

Scoring ace Quinn fires Vins into final


Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

Leinster club SFC semi-final

DUBLIN champions St Vincent's booked their place in the final, but scoring hero Tomas Quinn says they can't afford a sluggish start against provincial specialists Portlaoise on December 8.

The former Dublin star finished the match with 1-8 to his credit, including four points from play, but Quinn knows that Vincent's must raise their game for the final.

"It took us a while to get to grips on their breaks and things like that. We missed a couple of chances up front and got turned over. It probably wasn't until the goal that we settled down a little bit," said Quinn. "Taking 15 to 20 minutes to get into games, we won't survive too much longer if we keep doing that.

"Portlaoise are probably at the stage now where they don't benchmark themselves about winning Laois championships. They're looking for Leinsters and to be competing for All-Irelands.

"For Portlaoise to come through means we're going to have a big test, but we'll enjoy tonight and we have a couple of days before we turn our attention to that."

Mossy was deservedly happy and a tad relieved that the Marino-based team survived a pulsating contest against Meath's Summerhill. The Royal County men started at breakneck speed and left Vins struggling to gain a foothold for over 20 minutes in the first half.

Crisp passing, quickness in the tackle, and good team play were the hallmarks of Summerhill blitzkrieg in the first 20 minutes. The only drawback was that they had only six points to show for a mighty effort by that stage – three from frees by skipper Brian Ennis, and one each by David Larkin, Conor Gillespie, and Sean Dalton.


A couple of efforts went astray for the Meath side in that period of dominance, and while Vincent's only garnered points from Gavin Burke and a Quinn free, there were signs the Dubs were coming out of their early shellshock.

This proved to be the case when Vincent's Ruairi Trainor got the run on Summerhill centre-back Alan Lyons and clipped over a 21st-minute point for 0-3. Within two minutes, two significant events put the match back into the melting point.

First, Quinn found a yard or two of space close to the Summerhill goal to gather a high pass from Ciaran Dorney, and then shimmied his way to a shooting position from which his expertly driven left-foot shot sent the ball into the Summerhill net.

Next, Alan Lyons had to go off injured, to be replaced by Richie Hatton. Neither the conceded goal nor the substitution was a terminal issue for the 'Hill, but they did assist the Vincent's cause. Quinn (two), Shane Carthy and Gavin Burke nicked another four points to leave Vincent's ahead by 1-7 to 0-6 at half-time.

Meath midfielder Conor Gillespie, and forwards Larkin, Ennis, Paul Rispin, Sean Dalton and Adrian Kenny were at the heart of a huge Summerhill fire-and-fury start to the second half.

Sean Dalton kicked a point in the 34th minute and three minutes later Rispin brought the Summerhill fans to their feet when he fisted home a goal following a high punt by Adrian Kenny.

A Kenny point almost immediately added further impetus to Summerhill at 1-8, but Quinn eased over three important points, two from frees, for the Dubliners to hit 1-10.

Conor Gillespie's 40th-minute white flag then narrowed the margin to just one point with 20 minutes left. It was all to play for.

In this situation, every scoring chance counted and the harsh truth was that, in the remaining time, Summerhill lapsed on three occasions when points looked likely. On such small margins are Leinster championship matches won and lost, as Summerhill manager Declan McCabe admitted.

"The opportunity missed was more so about ourselves, what we didn't do in terms of when we had the game, we didn't grab it by the throat," he said.

"There were probably a couple of chances we didn't take. Again, in the helter-skelter of the game, it's about stopping and thinking before you do it. But this was a huge, huge effort on behalf of the players."

The Quinn show could not be stopped, and Mossy tacked on three of the last five points for Vincent's. Trainor and former Dublin midfielder Eamon Fennell – the latter with a thumping kick from long range – got the other all-important scores.

Vincent's fielded without first-choice keeper Michael Savage and suspended Dublin stars Diarmuid Connolly and Ger Brennan. Connolly and Brennan will be available for the final.

Quinn hailed the replacements and the younger players who have played a huge role in this 2013 campaign.

"I suppose it's a cliche of every team that you're as strong as your panel. We're certainly putting it to the test at the moment," Quinn added.

"We've certain expectations of whatever position you play, about what you have to contribute to the team. Lads are buying into that and the whole squad is seeing the benefits of it."

Scorers – St Vincent's: M Quinn 1-8 (0-3fs, 1 '45'), G Burke, R Trainor 0-2 each, S Carthy, E Fennell 0-1 each. Summerhill: P Rispin 1-1, B Ennis 0-3 (3fs), S Dalton, C Gillespie 0-2 each, D Larkin, A Kenny 0-1 each.

St Vincent's – D Jordan; K Bonnie, J Curley, H Gill; C Diamond, B Egan, M Concarr; D Murphy, E Fennell; G Burke, A Baxter, S Carthy; R Trainor, C Dorney, T Quinn. Subs: K Golden for A Baxter (38), T Diamond for C Dorney (50), N Mullins for G Burke (52).

Summerhill – T McDonnell; D Dalton, C Young, W Ryan; P Geraghty, A Lyons, S Husband; C Gillespie, M Byrne; D Larkin, B Ennis, A Kenny; P Rispin, S Dalton, B Dardis. Subs: R Hatton for A Lyons (23); S Kennedy for B Dardis (56); P Jennings for P Geraghty (59)

Ref – E Kinsella (Laois)

Irish Independent

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