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Dublin: 6 °C Sunday 16 December, 2018

Rathnew pull off one of club football's biggest shocks with stunning win over St Vincent's

The reigning Leinster champions are out.

Updated at 16.45

Rathnew (Wicklow) 1-13

St Vincent’s (Dublin) 1-9

Paul Keane reports from Aughrim

FORMER WICKLOW MIDFIELDER James Stafford conjured a famous AIB Leinster club SFC win for Rathnew with 1-2 at the death in Aughrim to send the holders crashing out.

Rathnew players celebrate after winning Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

Raging underdogs Rathnew trailed the Marino men and back to back Dublin champions by two points with 11 minutes to go.

But in what will go down as one of the great club championship upsets, Harry Murphy’s men dug deep and found the scores late on to win a titanic tussle.

Rathnew outscored Vincent’s by 1-3 to 0-0 in the closing minutes with Stafford scoring the game’s last three scores, which amounted to a 1-2 blitz from him.

His 53rd minute point levelled the game but it was his 57th minute goal that will be fondly remembered by supporters in the vocal home crowd.

Stafford rose highest in the St Vincent’s danger area and only needed one hand to pull down a Ross O’Brien delivery before getting an excellent left-footed shot away to the net.

He closed out the scoring with a 61st minute point to seal the four-point win and leave shell-shocked Vincent’s wondering exactly what had just happened.

Diarmuid Connolly leaves the pitch after the game Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

Brian Mullins’ visiting side were 1/16 favourites beforehand and Rathnew’s odds stretched to 66/1 early in the game when they fell 0-4 to 0-1 down.

But after a narrow win over Newtown Blues of Louth, they showed all their resilience to haul themselves back into the game.

Eddie and Mark Doyle as well as ex-Wicklow and Ireland forward Leighton Glynn all got on the score sheet in the first-half as they fought back to lead by 0-7 to 0-6 at the break.

Things got even better after the restart when Rathnew opened up a three-point lead on two occasions.

But the game appeared to swing in favour of Vincent’s when veteran Tomas Quinn sniped 1-1 in a matter of minutes, his 45th minute goal a palmed finish from close range after Enda Varley’s pass.

Vincent’s led 1-9 to 0-10 at that stage but surprisingly didn’t score again and were powerless to prevent the Rathnew onslaught.

Paul Merrigan with Diarmuid Connolly Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO


Scorers for Rathnew: James Stafford 1-2, Mark Doyle 0-4 (0-3f), Eddie Doyle 0-3 (0-2f), Leighton Glynn 0-2, Ross O’Brien 0-1, Paul Merrigan 0-1.

Scorers for St Vincent’s: Tomas Quinn 1-3 (0-2, 0-1f, 0-1 45), Enda Varley 0-2, Diarmuid Connolly 0-1 (0-1f), Shane Carthy 0-1, Gavin Burke 0-1, Ruairi Trainor 0-1.


1. Peter Dignam

2. Paul Merrigan
3. Damien Power
4. Jamie Snell

7. Enan Glynn
6. Ross O’Brien
5. Warren Kavanagh

8. James Stafford
9. Theo Smith

12. Graham Merrigan
14. Leighton Glynn
18. Danny Staunton

15. Eddie Doyle
13. Mark Doyle
10.Stephen Byrne.

16. John Manley for Staunton (52)
22. Gary Byrne for S Byrne (57).

St Vincent’s

1. Michael Savage

2. Michael Concarr
3. Jarlath Curley
4. Craig Wilson

18. Fiachra Breathnach
6. Ger Brennan
28. Luke Sheehy

8. Lorcan Galvin
27. Daithi Murphy

10. Gavin Burke
14. Shane Carthy
12. Cormac Diamond

13. Enda Varley
11. Diarmuid Connolly
15. Tomas Quinn.

23. Eamonn Fennell for Galvin (36)
30. Ruairi Trainor for Cormac Diamond (40)
25. James McCusker for Brennan (44)
22. Joe Feeney for Murphy (52)
20. Tiernan Diamond for Burke (61).

Referee: David Gough (Meath).​

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‘I fully believe we can claw it back’ – Conor McManus

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Paul Keane

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