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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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'We were all hurt by that and pained' - Ballyboden defeat in 2015 the driving force for St Vincent's

The focus for manager Tommy Conroy now turns to Leinster.

ST VINCENT’S WALKED off the field at Parnell Park in a familiar position on Saturday night. Champions. They’ve now been crowned top dogs in Dublin 28 times. Nobody else comes close.

The Marino club were warm favourites to beat Ballyboden St Enda’s in last year’s decider, but failed to catch fire and lost by four. That defeat, which dashed their three-in-a-row hopes, coupled with watching Ballyboden go on to lift the All-Ireland, spurred St Vincent’s on this year.

A dejected Diarmuid Connolly Diarmuid Connolly reacts to losing the 2015 Dublin SFC final to Ballyboden St Enda's. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

The five-point win over Castleknock provided manager Tommy Conroy with a deep sense of satisfaction.

“We were all hurt by that and pained by that,” he said after the game.

“Taking nothing away from Ballyboden, they were excellent and they went on and won an All-Ireland. But it does spur you on. There’s a huge amount of work gone into this.

“They’ve asked questions of each other, they’ve been very honest with each other and, please God now, they’ll give a little bit more now.”

Vincent’s wing-forward Gavin Burke posted important two points in an opening half where they struggled to shake Castleknock off and didn’t have things all their own way.

“It’s probably the sweetest of the titles that we won,” Burke said. “We probably took it for granted for a few years there winning everything between the Leinsters and the All-Ireland so you do appreciate it that bit more now when you get it back.

“Castleknock have come of age this year and they are a young team so they will be around for a long time. You have Ballymun, Crokes, Boden. Any one of them can win it so it is great to do it.”

It’s the third time in four years Conroy has led his side to the county title. He was also part of Mickey Whelan’s backroom team for their All-Ireland success in 2008.

The former All-Star won an All-Ireland on the playing field with Dublin in 1983 and was part of the Vincent’s side who lost the All-Ireland club final to CastleIsland Desmonds in 1985.

Conroy was full of praise for the players and members of his management team.

“To be part of this…the group, the management team that’s there, the people that are there with me, they’re unreal. And they’re very selfless people. They’re an amazing bunch of people. Incredible.

“Tomás [Quinn] just puts so much into this. He’s a very dedicated guy, he puts an awful lot into it. I know, Diarmuid [Connolly], it probably wasn’t his greatest game, but then at the crucial times it was him that was delivering the ball into Tomás.

“I think he put in two or three great passes into him in the second half and Tomás finished them off.”

On each of the two previous occasions they’ve won the title in Dublin under Conroy, Vincent’s have gone on to lift the Leinster crown.

Gavin Burke with Ben Galvin Gavin Burke races past Ben Galvin during Saturday's final. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Once again they’ll face a short-turnaround for the provincial campaign. Carlow champions Paletine are the opponents in Sunday’s quarter-final.

Burke expects a stern test. He continued: “It is very difficult and it’s been worse than previous years but we’ll have a pool session (on Sunday) and be back training Tuesday.

“We were very hurt last year so we certainly won’t be getting ahead of ourselves this time.

“Going down to Carlow in the middle of November after a tough game this week isn’t going to be easy at all. Enjoy this first and then it’s full steam ahead.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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