Photo: The Score (INPHO/Morgan Treacy)
Regular readers will know that, unlike in the inter-county scene, my affiliation at club level rests squarely here in the capital’s Northside. My kids have been playing football, hurling and camogie with St. Vincents in Marino for a number of years and I’ve even got involved in a small way myself in helping to organise one of the underage groups. It’s the only club I’ve ever been active in and the only one I’ve become a member of and so, regardless of the sign over this particular door, it’s only natural that this is where my club loyalties lie.
St. Vincent’s are, of course, a club with a long and proud heritage within the Dublin GAA scene. They’re by far and away the club with most county football titles (they’ve a fair few hurling ones too, by the way – they’re second in that particular roll of honour) and they added another one – their 26th – to the list last night in Parnell Park, where they fought back bravely in the closing stages to edge out holders Ballymun Kickhams in the county final replay.
Last Sunday’s drawn match was, by all accounts (I wasn’t there – we were away for mid-term and only on our way back when the match was being played) an open and attractive affair, as the 0-20 to 1-17 (AET) scoreline would suggest. Last night’s replay – which Vincent’s won by 1-9 to 1-8 with both teams ending the match with fourteen men (a match I also missed as I was away due to work and only got back late last night) – was more of the blood and guts variety but it was nonetheless a great one to win.
The last time Vinnies won the Dublin title, back in 2007, they followed it up by claiming the Andy Merrigan Cup at Croke Park the following Paddy’s Day. The blue and white flags are fluttering once again along Griffith Avenue in anticipation of another possible tilt at national glory but the next hurdle for the Marino lads is already staring them straight in the face. This comes in the form of a Leinster quarter-final tie against Westmeath champs St Loman’s at Cusack Park in Mullingar this coming Sunday (throw-in 2.30pm – this is one I’ll definitely be at).
Diarmuid Connolly’s straight red last night means he’ll miss this one and a player of his calibre will, of course, be a massive loss on Sunday. Still, with a forward line featuring All-Ireland minor medalist (from 2012) Gavin Burke and the evergreen Mossy Quinn, this Vincent’s side are far from a one-man team. There’ll be, I reckon, a bit of heavy lifting to be done all round in Mullingar but hopes are beginning to rise in these parts that this particular campaign may only be starting.