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Diarmuid Connolly on fire as St Vincent's book their fourth straight Dublin SFC final

St Vincent’s dumped out the 2012 champions Ballymun in a cagey affair at Parnell Park.

St Vincent’s 0-12

Ballymun Kickhams 0-11

Kevin O’Brien reports from Parnell Park

DIARMUID CONNOLLY KICKED four outstanding points as St Vincent’s booked their fourth straight Dublin SFC final with a narrow victory over Ballymun Kickhams.

Kevin Leahy and Diarmuid Connolly Source: James Crombie/INPHO

In a last four tie between two powerhouses of Dublin club football, the Marino-based side had just a point to spare as they dumped out Ballymun for a second straight year.

Substitute Albert Martin proved the unlikely hero, kicking the winner from a narrow angle just 11 minutes after he was introduced off the bench. Martin was a key member of the club’s intermediate championship winning team a year ago.

St Vincent’s will now face the winners of tomorrow night’s semi-final, either St Jude’s or Castleknock, in the decider on Saturday October 5th.

The Vinnies, who were beaten by Ballyboden St Enda’s in last year’s decider, are seeking their third title in four years.

The victors were much improved from their quarter-final win over Lucan Sarsfields, with Connolly in particular showing flashes of brilliance.

He kicked four sublime scores, two off either foot in a devastating display. Just as in the drawn All-Ireland final with Mayo, Connolly needed a new jersey after some particularly tight marking from John Small in the first-half.

Both sides finished the game with 14 men. Ballymun lost Davy Byrne to a black card for a deliberate trip in the first-half and on 22 minutes Jason Whelan was dismissed after receiving a second yellow for dragging down Connolly.

With six minutes left, Tomas Quinn was harshly sent for an early shower after he picked up two yellows in the space of 30 seconds.

Both clubs provided plenty of players to Dublin’s All-Ireland winning side, contributing Philly McMahon, John Small, Dean Rock, James McCarthy (Ballymun) and Diarmuid Connolly (St Vincent’s) to Jim Gavin’s starting line-up.

With one of the strongest club championships in the country, the winners of this game were always going find themselves among the front runners for the All-Ireland.

The 2008 and 2014 All-Ireland champions, alongside Corofin, will find themselves among the hot favourites for glory in Croke Park St Patrick’s Day.

Wearing number 29, James McCarthy was a late addition to the Ballymun starting team. He was struggling with a groin injury in recent weeks but recovered sufficiently to take the field from the start.

Indeed, McCarthy almost had the ball in the net for Ballymun inside the opening two minutes, after he ghosted in behind the St Vincent’s defence and shot wide.

Small was closely tracking Connolly from the outset, but he could do little to prevent the All-Star forward from firing over a stunning left-footed effort from the corner in the early stages.

In a devastating five minute spell midway through the half Ballymun lost Davy Byrne and then Jason Whelan to a red. Whelan, who was already on a yellow, picked up a black for a high challenge on Connolly.

Alan Hubbard and Gavin Burke Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Quinn and Rock traded two scores apiece before the break, as the sides went in level at half-time on 0-5 apiece.

Things didn’t open up too much after the break, although Furman and Rock were on target as the 14-men of Ballymun moved into an 0-8 to 0-6 lead.

Quick as a flash Quinn and Connolly had St Vincent’s back on level terms. Dean Rock was unlucky to see a goal chance flash wide, before he and Connolly traded scores.

Spare defender Ger Brennan raised the roof with a glorious effort from outside the left. Then disaster struck for St Vincent’s, after they lost Quinn to two yellows in the space of 30 seconds.

In a tight and tense final five minutes, and with both teams on 14 men, another Rock free pulled Ballymun level. Then Albert Martin swung over a majestic point from the right flank, and it proved to be the match-winner.

Scorers for St Vincent’s: Diarmuid Connolly 0-4, Tomas Quinn 0-3f, Enda Varley 0-2f, Albert Martin, Ruairi Trainor Brennan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Ballymun Kickhams: Dean Rock 0-8 (0-6f) Ted Furman 0-2, James Burke 0-1.

St Vincent’s

1. Michael Savage

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

5. Brendan Egan
6. Ger Brennan
20. Cameron Diamond

8. Daithi Murphy
9. Shane Carthy

10. Gavin Burke
11. Diarmuid Connolly
12. Cormac Diamond

13. Ruairi Trainor
29. Enda Varley
15. Tomas Quinn

Subs: 21. Joe Feeney (for Gavin Burke, 41 mins), 25. Albert Martin (for Daithi Murphy, 47 mins), 14. Adam Baxter (for Enda Varley, 54 mins), 22. Kevin Golden (for Cormac Diamond, 59 mins), 24. James McCusker (for Ruairi Trainor, 61 mins).

Ballymun Kickhams

1. Sean Currie

7. Karl Connolly
3. Eoin Dolan
4. Philly McMahon

9.  Davy Byrne
6. John Small
5. James Burke

8. Arron Elliot
29. James McCarthy

10. Kevin Leahy
11. Jason Whelan
12. Paddy Small

13. Ted Furman
14. Dean Rock
15. Alan Hubbard

Subs: 19. Liam O’Donovan (for Davy Byrne, 19 mins, black-card), 21. Dillon Keating (for Liam O’Donovan, 49 mins), 18. Elliot Reilly (for Kevin Leahy, 57 mins), 2 Leon Young (for Karl Connelly, 60 mins).

Referee: Barry Tiernan.

As it happened: St Vincent’s v Ballymun Kickhams, Dublin SFC semi-final

9 county senior finals, Dublin last four, Munster opener – here’s this week’s key GAA games

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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