St Vincent’s 1-8
Ballymun Kickhams 0-8
Kevin O’Brien reports from Parnell Park
ST VINCENT’S ARE Dublin senior football champions for a record 28th time in their storied history.
The Marino club, who were crowned Leinster champions three times in the last four years, inflicted a fourth championship defeat on Ballymun since 2013.
Diarmuid Connolly kicked 1-1 in a fine display, particularly in the opening half, as the Marino outfit confirmed their status as Dublin’s dominant team.
This was their fourth title in five years and they’ll be warm favourites to claim another provincial title at the very least.
They were deserving three-point winners despite an improved second-half performance by Ballymun. The Mun were three behind at the interval but in truth that gap should have been wider as Vincent’s left a couple of early goal chances behind them.
Vincent’s defeated Ballymun after a replay in the 2013 decider, in the second round of 2015, the 2016 semi-final and now again in the 2017 final. These two sides are well acquainted with one another in recent times and it showed on the field.
James McCarthy threw himself around the pitch, nailing Nathan Mullins and Jarlath Curley with heavy hits in either half. But late on St Vincent’s substitute Eamonn Fennell, who has badly struggled with injury sine 2015, made a superb strip on McCarthy as the Mun chased a late equalising goal.
Ger Brennan and Tomas Quinn showed their experience by trying to run the clock down in the final 10 minutes, but Quinn’s delay in taking a 21m free in the 56th minute saw the referee hop the ball up instead of the free.
From the start, Ballymun played with number 15 Davy Byrne operating as a seventh defender for the opening period, which freed up veteran Brennan to sweep in front of his defence.
Philly McMahon picked up his longtime Dublin team-mate Diarmuid Connolly in the heavyweight match-up of the night. Connolly enjoyed a dominant opening 30 minutes, posting 1-1 and laying on two points for his teammates. He was quieter in the second period, as Vincent’s sat deeper and soaked up the pressure.
Vincent’s shut down Ballymun’s running game at its root and caused turnover after turnover in the first-half, which yielded two glorious goal opportunities – one of which Connolly dispatched in the 13th minute.
The Vinnies played the game on their terms, sitting deep to soak up the Ballymun runs before breaking at pace and targeting their full-forward line with long deliveries.
Paddy Small hardly got a sniff in the first period as the Ballymun attack malfunctioned and they failed to get any sort of quality ball into their danger man. They were fortunate to be just 1-4 to 0-4 behind at the interval.
Ballymun pushed Byrne to a more advance role as a third midfielder after half-time and it greatly benefited their play.
Jason Whelan launched over a brilliant pair of scores, while Carl Keeley saw a golden goal chance tipped onto the bar and over by Michael Savage. Quinn kicked a second-half brace to keep the scoreboard ticking over and crucially they gave away few opportunities on goal.
The Mun were back to within three points heading into the final few minutes, when Rock kicked a 35m free uncharacteristically wide – a sure sign it was the Marino club’s day.
Scorers for St Vincent’s: Diarmuid Connolly 1-1, Tomas Quinn 0-2, Shane Carty, Enda Varley, Craig Wilson and Gavin Burke 0-1 each.
Scorers for Ballymun: Dean Rock 0-3 (0-3f), Jason Whelan and Carl Keeley 0-2 each, Paddy Small 0-1.
1. Michael Savage
2. Michael Concarr
4. Craig Wilson
3. Jarlath Curley
7. Brendan Egan
6. Ger Brennan
5. Cameron Diamond
8. Lorcan Galvin
9. Nathan Mullins
12. Cormac Diamond
14. Shane Carty
10. Gavin Burke
15. Tomás Quinn
13. Enda Varley
11. Diarmuid Connolly
27. Daithi Murphy for Galvin (ht)
30. Ruairi Trainor for Varley (42)
22. Joe Feeney for Burke (49)
20. Tiernan Diamond for Cormac Diamond (57)
23. Eamonn Fennell for Mullins (62)
28. Luke Sheehy for Cameron Diamon (63)
1. Evan Comerford
4. Alan Hubbard
3. Eoin Dolan
2. Philly McMahon
15. Davy Byrne
5. Carl Keeley
6. John Small
7. James Burke
8. Aaron Elliot
9. James McCarthy
10. Jason Whelan
11. Dean Rock
12. Kevin Leahy
13. Eoin O’Neill
14. Paddy Small
24. Colm Hulton for Leahy (44)
28. Ted Furman for O’Neill (57)
Referee: David O’Connor (Fingal Ravens)
Subscribe to The42 podcasts here: