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Connolly adds to his incredible medal haul as St Vincent's eye more silverware

“It’s only one part of the journey,” Vinnies boss Brian Mullins stated after the game.

Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Kevin O’Brien reports from Parnell Park

IN THE END, there was just the kick of the ball separating the two sides.

Three points was the winning margin for St Vincent’s, who completed back-to-back titles for the second time since 2014.

When all was said and done, it was Diarmuid Connolly’s goal inside the first quarter that proved the difference between the Vinnies and Ballymun Kickhams.

Minutes earlier he’d almost slipped Tomas Quinn in for a goal, but his hand pass was poor and it forced Quinn to readjust before he fired wide.

But Connolly’s delicate 13th minute finish, after he latched onto a fine ball inside by Lorcan Galvin, was the stamp of class required in a game that failed to live up to the pre-match hype.

“I think a lot of players played very well but Diarmuid led by example,” his manager Brian Mullins said outside the winning dressing room shortly after the game.

“He worked very hard and got on the ball a lot and used it very well.”

Connolly had 1-1 and 0-2 in assists on the board at the interval. It wasn’t bad going for a player who limped off with an icepack held to his hamstring in the wake of the club’s Dublin hurling semi-final defeat to Cuala eight days ago.

Mullins said Connolly felt the hamstring “a little bit” in the lead-up to this final but “there was never a doubt” that he would start.

Following his latest triumph, the 30-year-old is putting together one of the greatest medal hauls ever seen in the game.

Diarmuid Connolly’s medal haul

Dublin

  • 5 All-Irelands
  • 10 Leinsters
  • 4 Division 1 National Leagues
  • 2 All-Stars

St Vincent’s

  • 2 All-Irelands
  • 4 Leinsters
  • 5 Dublin county titles

Diarmuid Connolly celebrates with team mascot Marcus Brady Diarmuid Connolly celebrates with team mascot Marcus Brady after the game Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

It’s an astonishing haul and one Connolly will be expected to add to further in the coming years.

He’s been fortunate in one sense to have so many talented team-mates with club and county, but neither teams wouldn’t have been anywhere near as successful if they didn’t have Connolly in their ranks.

“Yeah we’re lucky, we’ve a great bunch, they’re very dedicated, very committed and they are eager to do the best they can in the jersey,” continued Mullins.

“The dividend out of that effort and mentality is four out of five so they’re very happy with that though they don’t like talking about the one that got away so we’ll not talk about that today.”

The Marino club are now seeking their fourth Leinster crown in five years. Further down the line they’ll be eyeing a third All-Ireland since 2008. Four club titles in five years is a remarkable achievement considering the competition within Dublin.

“It’s the closest thing I’ve seen to an inter-county team from a club’s perspective,” four-time All-Star Paul Flynn gushed on the eir Sport coverage tonight.

Experienced players Jarlath Curley, Ger Brennan, Gavin Burke and Shane Carthy all enjoyed good games tonight for the winners.

“They’re so professional,” added Flynn. “Everything they do – from the warm-up today they were in the zone very early. But the way they play, structurally for me it’s above and beyond most other teams in club football.”

St. Vincent’s manager Brian Mullins Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

63-year-old Mullins, who won four All-Irelands with Dublin during his playing days, only replaced Tommy Conroy last winter but has managed to retain the sort of consistency they had under his predecessor.

“I wouldn’t say it was easy per se (to come in),” said Mullins. “They’re a very agreeable bunch and they’re a very inspiring bunch to work with and I’m very lucky we had the chance to work with them.

“At the moment everything is good but we’ve a lot of hard work ahead of us and it’s only one part of the journey. Now that we’ve the Dublin championship won again our concentration will be on the next round of the Leinster championship and we’ll take every round as it comes.”

With a serial winner like Connolly in their ranks and a strong squad around him, they’ll move forward with real confidence.

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