Wednesday 19 December 2018

St Vincent's use all their guile and ringcraft to overcome Ballymun for 28th Dublin title

St Vincent's 1-8 Ballymun Kickhams 0-8

St Vincent's Captain Diarmuid Connolly celebrates with his team mates as he lifts the the Clearys Cup after the Dublin County Senior Club Football Championship Final match between Ballymun Kickhams and St Vincent's at Parnell Park in Dublin. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
St Vincent's Captain Diarmuid Connolly celebrates with his team mates as he lifts the the Clearys Cup after the Dublin County Senior Club Football Championship Final match between Ballymun Kickhams and St Vincent's at Parnell Park in Dublin. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

It wasn’t the classic we had hoped for. Two of Dublin’s heavyweight clubs clashed at a packed Parnell Park but the fireworks that might have been expected, given the talent on show and the recent rivalry between these sides, never materialised.

They’ll scarcely care around Marino as it was Vincent’s who took the trophy on the short trip across the road from Parnell Park to their clubhouse. Through a combination of Diarmuid Connolly’s class and their own hard-earned, big game experience, they carved out their 28th Dublin crown for the famous northside club.

In the end, they only needed 1-8 to get the job done. They scored just four points in the second half but St Vincent’s managed the game brilliantly in the second half, chewing up the clock as much as possible and limiting the frees they conceded within Dean Rock’s range.

Try as they might, Ballymun could only get as close to two points down the home straight in an at times bizarre second half that saw Tomas Quinn pulled for time wasting when standing over a 13m free that might have put his side four points up.

At the other end, Rock was wide from a free that he’d be expected to kick in his sleep.

Vincent’s were brilliantly stingy in defence in the second half and conceded just five points from play in the game. However they needed a brilliant save from Michael Savage coming down the home straight to keep Ballymun at bay. Savage pushed Carl Keeley’s effort over the bar when he was through on goal.

Ballymun had crated little in the way of goal chances and it felt like a big moment. And so it proved. Many of these Vincent’s players have plenty of miles on the clock, but they had enough in the tank to secure a fourth Dublin title in five years.

Early on there was hope that the match could turn into a rip roaring contest. Games between these sides are usually close and almost always physical. James McCarthy made sure this would be no different early on with a fair but thunderous hit on Nathan Mullins.

It was the kind of shoulder that took the oxygen out of the place and it sent Mullins to the sideline for treatment for the first few minutes of the game, though he would soon return.

It might have set the tone for Ballymun, who were chasing just their fourth title, but it was Vincent’s who settled better early on. They put huge pressure on the Ballymun backs coming out with the ball and one turnover put Diarmuid Connolly clear. He fed Tomas Quinn who saw his goal bound shot was deflected wide by a retreating Eoin Dolan. Quinn would miscue from the resultant 45.

With Ballymun off colour, the signs were there that the Marino side wouldn’t have to wait too long for their first goal. They forced another turnover and Connolly, showing no signs of the hamstring injury he picked up while in action for the club’s hurlers last weekend, scorched into the space. He finished low past Evan Comerford with a crafty left footed finish.

Confidence was surging through Brian Mullins’ side now while Ballymun looked nervous in possession. Vincent's might have had another goal when Quinn hit the post with a shot on the turn.

Connolly was purring now too and was at the heart of everything good Vincent’s were doing. By half time he had 1-1 to his name and assisted a further two points but despite his promptings, it felt like they they should have been further ahead.

Ballymun kicked their first point in 14 minutes when Keeley stormed forward to curl over from a tight angle. They closed out the half with a Rock free to leave them trailing by just 1-4 to 0-4, significantly closer than the balance of the first half suggested they should be.

The second half saw an inauspicious start with both sides kicking uncharacteristically poor wides. Even Connolly was afflicted, skying one effort way off to the right.

Paddy Carr's Ballymun side kept trying but they couldn't find a way through. Carr had been in Navan to see his adopted Simonstown win their second Meath title a day earlier and had they won here, there was a potential for a clash down the line in Leinster.

But in the end, St Vincent’s held on to set up a clash with Wicklow champions Rathnew in Aughrim on Saturday week.


SCORERS - St Vincent’s: D Connolly 1-1, E Varley (1f), T Quinn (1f) 0-2 each, C Wilson, S Carthy, G Burke 0-1 each.

Ballymun Kickhams: D Rock (3f) 0-3, C Keeley, J Whelan 0-2 each, P Small 0-1.

St Vincent’s: M Savage; M Concarr, J Curley, C Wilson; Cameron Diamond, G Brennan, B Egan; L Galvin, N Mullins; G Burke, D Connolly, Cormac Diamond; E Varley, S Carthy, T Quinn SUBS: D Murphy for Galvin (HT), R Trainor for Varley (43), J Feeney for Burke (50), T Diamond for Cormac Diamond (58), E Fennell for Mullins (63), L Sheehy for Cameron Diamond (63). 

Ballymun Kickhams: E Comerford; P McMahon, E Dolan, A Hubbard; C Keeley, J Small, J Burke; A Elliott, J McCarthy; J Whelan, D Rock, K Leahy; E O’Neill, P Small, D Byrne SUBS: C Hulton for Leahy (45), T Furman for O’Neill (58),

Referee: D O’Connor (Fingal Ravens).

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