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Tuesday 7 February 2023 Dublin: 7°C
# Club Action
Star quality, All-Ireland favourites and more talking points as St Vincent's edge Ballymun
The Vinnies are one game away from sealing a 28th Dublin SFC title.

1. The best of the Dubs

DIARMUID CONNOLLY WAS the star of the show, finishing with four points to his name. His scores were majestic, each one stroked over with ease and style.

He was the sole Dublin starter on the St Vincent’s side, while Ballymun had four.

Diarmuid Connolly consoles James McCarthy James Crombie / INPHO Diarmuid Connolly consoles James McCarthy after the final whistle. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Dean Rock was Ballymun’s top scorer with eight points, including two from play. At times Ballymun were guilty of relying on Rock’s placed balls, but when you’ve a free-taker as accurate as him, it’s hard not to.

Elswhere James McCarthy had a particularly good first half, making a couple of really incisive runs through the heart of the St Vincent’s defence. He was inches away from finding the net from one such run in second minute.

Philly McMahon had a good game although he did kick away a couple of passes into the forwards. John Small spent the night in the unenviable role of Connolly’s man-marker, and didn’t do himself a diservice, limiting the All-Star forward to shots from distance.

Paddy Small and Ger Brennan James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

2. Star quality on display

It was a star-studded affair, with county players past and present interspersed throughout both sides. Outside of Dublin’s household names, there was a lot more quality on show.

Ger Brennan and Tomas Quinn of St Vincent’s were All-Ireland winners with Dublin in the past, while Davy Byrne, Jason Whelan (both Ballymun) and Hugh Gill (St Vincent’s) all logged league minutes in previous seasons under Pat Gilroy and Jim Gavin.

Ballymun’s Paddy Small, a younger brother of county star John, will likely push for game-time in Gavin’s squad next spring.

Brendan Egan and Enda Varley (both St Vincent’s) represented Sligo and Mayo respectively in the past, while a host of players on both teams have featured for Dublin U21s and minors.

Despite the hurried nature this championship is played in, it remains the top club football competition in the country.

Tomas Quinn and Cameron Diamond celebrate Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

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3. Title talk

The Marino club are the first side since Na Fianna to reach four straight Dublin finals.

They’ll play either St Jude’s or Castleknock in the decider, and anything other than a victory for the Vins would be a major upset.

The kingpins of Dublin football are one game away from wrapping up their 28th senior crown. To put that into perspective O’Tooles, their nearest challengers, have been stuck on 11 since 1946.

Kilmacud Crokes (7 titles), Parnells (6), Ballymun (3), Ballyboden St. Enda’s (3) and St Brigid’s (2) are a long way off that mark.

Having already won All-Ireland titles in 2008 and 2014, St Vincent’s are now 5/2 favourites with the bookies to pick up a fourth All-Ireland club trophy.

Another victory on St. Patrick’s day would place them in the outright third position on the All-Ireland roll of honour behind Crossmaglen Rangers and Nemo Rangers.

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

Lee Keegan’s Westport through to Mayo final as Mortimer makes club return

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