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A third Leinster title in four years for Dublin's St Vincent's as Offaly's Rhode fall short again

Diarmuid Connolly struck the only goal of the game in Portlaoise.

Diarmuid Connolly lifts the trophy Captain Diarmuid Connolly lifts the Leinster club football trophy. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

St Vincent’s 1-16
Rhode 0-12

FOR THE THIRD time in four years, St Vincent’s are heading into Christmas with the satisfaction of being crowned Leinster champions and the anticipation of an All-Ireland assault in the spring.

The Dublin club staved off the challenge of Offaly’s Rhode by seven points this afternoon at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise to deservedly clinch a provincial title.

Captain Diarmuid Connolly drilled a left-foot shot to the net in the early stages to put St Vincent’s into a lead that they would never subsequently relinquish.

Ruairi Trainor and Brian Darby Brian Darby offloads the ball under pressure from Ruairi Trainor Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

It transpired to be the only goal of the game but St Vincent’s had enough attacking weapons in their arsenal to keep the scoreboard ticking over with quality points.

Connolly, Mossy Quinn, Gavin Burke, Enda Varley and Shane Carthy contributed 0-11 from play between them. It was a level of quality that Rhode could not supress with the Offaly club only mustering 0-6 from play.

St. Vincent's players celebrate with the trophy St Vincent's players celebrate with the Leinster club trophy Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Defeat was a bitter pill to swallow for the Pascal Kelleghan managed outfit. It marks the club’s fifth Leinster final loss in 11 seasons, their fourth to a Dublin club in that time frame and a repeat of their 2014 loss to St Vincent’s at the same stage.

Rhode did double their scoring tally from that final two years ago in striking 0-12. Yet there was always a sense that they needed a goal to cause an upset and they suffered a major setback in that regard before the interval.

They’d recovered from the concession of that Connolly goal to trail 1-4 to 0-4 after the first quarter and they were 1-7 to 0-6 behind approaching the break.

Then Rhode were awarded a penalty after Niall McNamee was felled by Ger Brennan and the former All-Ireland winner was shown a black card.

Ruairi McNamee stepped up to plant the ball towards goal but St Vincent’s netminder Michael Savage got down brilliantly to make a save.

St Vincent’s rounded off that spell of play in first-half injury-time with a point by Burke and Rhode found themselves staring at a five-point deficit at the break.

Nathan Mullins and Niall McNamee St Vincent's Nathan Mullins and Rhode's Niall McNamee Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The Offaly men continued to battle in the second-half and had trimmed the gap to four points – 1-11 to 0-10 – when Niall McNamee knocked over a free in the 37th minute.

But then St Vincent’s upped the ante once more to reel off four points without reply – Quinn (2), Joe Feeney and Ruairi Trainor – and entering the finale, they had the game wrapped up.

An All-Ireland semi-final date with Slaughtneil beckons in February.

Scorers for St Vincent’s: Diarmuid Connolly 1-2, Mossy Quinn 0-4 (0-2f), Gavin Burke 0-3, Enda Varley, Shane Carthy 0-2 each, Cormac Diamond, Joe Feeney, Ruairi Trainor 0-1 each.

Scorers for Rhode: Niall McNamee 0-6 (0-5f), Darren Garry 0-2, Paul McPadden, Conor McNamee, Niall Darby, Ciaran Heavey 0-1 each.

St Vincent’s

1. Michael Savage

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

7. Cameron Diamond
6. Ger Brennan
24. Nathan Mullins

8. Daithi Murphy
9. Shane Carthy

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

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

Subs

21. Fiachra Breathnach for Brennan (black card) (half-time)
26. Albert Martin for Murphy (39)
25. Joe Feeney for Martin (inj) (45)
28. James McCusker for Cormac Diamond (58)
19. Kevin Bonnie for Varley (63)

Rhode

1. Kenny Garry

3. Shane Sullivan
17. Ciaran Heavey
10. James McPadden

2. Brian Darby
6. Eoin Rigney
7. Niall Darby

8. Alan McNamee
19. Darren Garry

10. Pauric Sullivan
11. Niall McNamee
9. Conor McNamee

15. Stephen Hannon
14. Ruairi McNamee
13. Paul McPadden

Subs

20. Glenn O’Connell for Pauric Sullivan (40)
22. Dylan Kavanagh for Heavey (53)
18. Gareth McNamee for Shane Sullivan (56)
24. Shane Lowry for McPadden (64)
25. Eoghan Byrne for Conor McNamee (black card) (64)

Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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