Quinn steers Vincent’s to glory

St. Vincent's (Dublin) 1-11 Nemo Rangers (Cork) 0-13

Nemo Rangers’ brave comeback from a six points deficit twice saw them come close to drawing level before they fell further behind and, heartbreakingly, were again within striking distance when the full-time whistle sounded.

On balance, the Dublin side did more to bring the Andy Merrigan Cup back to Marino after a 32 years absence and gain revenge for their defeat by the Cork side in the 1973 decider.

For that, they could thank team captain Mossy Quinn for his seven points, recognise the major influence of midfielder Micheal O’Shea, and acknowledge the huge input of veteran manager Mickey Whelan, a link with their only other winning side.

But this was a victory for teamwork, and for a display of character when Nemo asked the serious questions late on — only to be foiled by the combination of unforced errors, bad luck and the clock.

Notably, the St. Vincent’s pairing of Hugh Coghlan and Micheal O’Shea gained a valuable foothold in midfield early in the game and maintained it for about 20 minutes — with Castlegregory native O’Shea in particular almost completely dominant. In contrast, Nemo struggled for a long time before even promising parity, and it didn’t help their cause that Peter Morgan, who had been outstanding in the semi-final, was off the field for 15 minutes for treatment after a clash of heads with Coghlan. And he didn’t come out for the second half.

Backed by a strong wind, St. Vincent’s overall strength enabled them to dictate the play — meaning that Nemo’s defence was almost continually vulnerable, with Connolly and Quinn in particular doing damage, and Tiernan Diamond influential at centre-forward. After 14 minutes they were four points clear.

Nevertheless, with Dylan Mehigan’s 17th minute score signalling the start of a Nemo recovery, they were in a healthier position a few minutes later when a well-kicked free from Paul Kerrigan had them only three points behind. And, while St. Vincent’s would have been further in front but for wasting some good chances, the actual margin at that stage would have been lower but for an error by Martin Cronin which gifted Quinn a score from a free.

In another minute, Connolly had the ball in the net and a scoreline of 1-5 to 0-2 was more an accurate reflection of their overall control. In the time remaining, Nemo maintained their improvement, with Maurice

McCarthy more forceful at midfield, Mehigan prominent at half-forward, and both Masters and Kerrigan threatening when they gained possession. At the break it was 1-7 to 0-4.

Nemo re-introduced David Niblock (who had come in for Morgan) as well making a change at half-back, and they also had Sean O’Brien on the field from just before the interval. Clearly benefiting from the wind, they quickly powered their way back, with Derek Kavanagh asserting himself strongly at the heart of the defence and going forward several times, Brian O’Regan doing well on the left wing and O’Brien making an impact. With a greater return from midfield, they were boosted by an early score from David Kearney and two in quick succession from Alan Cronin.

That was after only 12 minutes, but within five minutes they were just a point behind after Masters converted a free won by Mehigan, who just before had been out of luck when a punched effort went over off the crossbar. The momentum was very much with the Cork side until Masters crucially missed the chance of an equaliser with 12 minutes left from well within his range.

And, to make matters worse, an Alan Cronin miss-kick in midfield led to Mossy Quinn scoring from play at the other end. In psychological, as well as real terms, this marked an important turning point. It meant that Nemo were still chasing the game and Vincent’s were still defending well enough to hold out — with Pat Kelly (given his family’s blessing to line out after his father died on Sunday), making an important contribution at wing-back. And so it proved.

Frees from Quinn and Connolly gave them a three points advantage, only to see Nemo challenge strongly again after Masters put over two frees. But, that was as good as it got for them.

Scorers for St. Vincent’s: M. Quinn 0-7 (0-5 frees); D. Connolly 1-2 (0-1 free); T. Diamond and H. Coghlan 0-1 each.

Nemo Rangers: J. Masters 0-7 (0-3 frees); A. Cronin 0-2; M. McCarthy, P. Kerrigan (free), D. Kearney and D. Mehigan 0-1 each.

ST. VINCENT’S: M. Savage; P. Conlon, E. Brady, H. Gill; T. Doyle, G. Brennan, P. Kelly; H. Coghlan, M. O’Shea; K. Golden, T. Diamond, D. Connolly; B. Maloney, P. Gilroy, T. Quinn (capt.)

Subs: R. Trainor for Gilroy (44); C. Brady for Coghlan (45); R. Fallon for Gill (58); W. Lowry for Golden (60).

NEMO RANGERS: B. Morgan; N. Geary (capt.), D. Kavanagh, D. Breen; G. O’Shea, M. Cronin, B. O’Regan; P. Morgan, M. McCarthy; R. Kenny, A. Cronin, D. Mehigan; D.Kearney, J. Masters, P. Kerrigan.

Subs: S. O’Brien for Kenny (30); D. Niblock for P. Morgan and C. O’Brien for O’Shea (second half); B. O’Driscoll for A. Cronin (53).

Referee: J. McQuillan (Cavan).

Attendance: 31,246.

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