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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 15 December, 2018

'You've got to make hay when the sun shines, it won't last forever' - Ger Brennan

Harry Murphy’s Rathnew are next for St Vincent’s and they’ve taken down Dublin sides in Leinster before.

ST VINCENT’S CENTRE-back Ger Brennan took a moment with his family as he left the Parnell Park field on Monday night.

Ger Brennan Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Brennan and his team-mates had just lifted their fourth Dublin SFC crown in five years with a 1-8 to 0-8 win over Ballymun Kickhams in Parnell Park.

“I was just reflecting on it with my parents and the wife as we were coming in,” he said shortly after the final whistle crowned them champions once again.

“It’s pretty nice now, I have to say, and I guess not often you get to enjoy it because the season rolls on so quickly. It’s a nice achievement. An awful lot of work has gone into our team over the years.

“Brian Mullins and the management team took up the mantle from Tommy Conroy after him being involved for a number of years and he just kind of added value to it the whole time.”

He now has five county medals to his name and St Vincent’s sit on top of the Dublin roll of honourwith 28 crowns, but Brennan never saw his team win a county title growing up.

He was part of the team in 2007 that ended a 33-year famine, and since then they’ve dominated the game domestically.

“No one grew up watching them win titles. I think it was 30-odd years when we won it in 2007.

“We’d a big gap after we won in 2007, there’s a massive gap there where we lost a few players and we lost our way a bit.

“But thankfully we’ve been able to create a standard and any player that’s coming into the squad, new lads coming up from minor and that, we try to adhere to that standard of excellence.

“We try to improve ourselves the whole time because a few of us would have been involved in 2008 and there was barren years for a good while. We kind of learnt from that, you’ve got to make hay when the sun shines, it won’t last forever.”

Diarmuid Connolly celebrates with Ger Brennan and Tomas Quinn Mossy Quinn, Brennan and Diarmuid Connolly celebrating their win last Monday Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

St Vincent’s have since been installed as odds-on favourites to reign supreme in Leinster and they’re now bidding to become the sixth Dublin team in-a-row to lift the provincial title.

But Rathnew, under the management of former Wicklow boss Harry Murphy, have pedigree in this competition. They’ve been competed in the Leinster club championship six times in the last nine years.

Brennan is wary of the threat they’ll pose.

“I met Harry Murphy briefly before and I’m aware of Rathnew’s success in Wicklow over the years,” he said.

“Harry Murphy, I know he was involved with Wicklow and he brought them up from Division 4 to Division 3 in the league a couple of years ago.

“They’ll have nothing to lose, and they’ll get stuck in, as they’re a tough team.”

One man who’s well aware of the danger Rathnew pose in Leinster is former Na Fianna star Senan Connell.

As the eir Sport panel dissected the Marino club’s county final victory on Monday night, Connell recalled his 2001 campaign with Na Fianna when they lost the Leinster final to Rathnew after a replay.

“Never easy. I’ve been down there a couple of times in Rathnew,” Connell said.

A strong Na Fianna outfit featuring Connell, Jason Sherlock and Kieran McGeeney drew 1-6 to 0-9 with Rathnew before losing the replay by 2-16 to 1-10. Harry Murphy was manager of Wicklow club back then too.

Senan Connell Senan Connell in the Leinster club football final replay Source: INPHO

Jason Sherlock and Trevor Doyle Jason Sherlock and Trevor Doyle Source: INPHO

Damian Power and Kieran McGeeney Damian Power goes past Kieran McGeeney Source: INPHO

“We got beat in a Leinster final replay two days before Christmas way back in 2001 by them. But the form would suggest that any team that comes out of Dublin should have their eye on winning that Leinster title, and that’s no disrespect to anyone else.

“You see that Vincent’s team, they’re an experienced side and I’d expect them to win it, yes,” he concluded.

Remarkably, Leighton Glynn was part of the Rathnew team to defeat O’Connell’s side in the Leinster final that year and he’s still going strong 16 years later.

In the meantime, Glynn has racked up 21 senior county medals in either code – 12 in football and nine with Glenealy in hurling.

Leighton Glynn celebrates after the game Leighton Glynn celebrates Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“We’re looking forward to the Dubs now,” Glynn’s manager Murphy told the Wicklow People this week.

“You know yourself, no matter which of these teams come through it will be a savage challenge. But it will be a great day for us, for the club, for the county, a big crowd in Aughrim. We’re looking forward to it.

“That’s why we’re in the game, to pit our wits against some of the best in the country.”

However the Wicklow champions might face action over two seperate incidents from their first round win over Louth’s Newtown Blues.

The Herald reports that Leinster disciplinary chiefs “are eager to view footage” of both incidents, one of which occured before the game and another during it.

No-one was sent-off by referee David Hickey during the game, but “Leinster’s CCC will first examine the Carlow official’s report before deciding what, if any, course of action to take.”

  • Rathnew (Wicklow) v St Vincent’s (Dublin), Leinster club SFC quarter-final, Joule Park AughrimSunday 12 November

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Kevin O'Brien

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