In 2006, the northside club ascended to the senior ranks of Cork football, but saw their tenure last one season, failing to win five championship games despite a good showing in the Kelleher Shield.
Premier intermediate finalists in their first year back down, they lost after a replay to St Finbarr’s, and the subsequent three years all saw semi-final heartbreak before they put things right last year.
Defeats by Newcestown and Douglas in this year’s campaign may have left them worried that another drop was imminent, but in this third round tie they came good late on to see off their predecessors as PIFC champions.
With the sides tied at 0-5 each, a goal and a point from Kyle Lynch gave Vincent’s breathing space before Jonathan Buckley and Frank Murphy wrapped things up.
St Vincent’s goalkeeper Patrick O’Shea preferred to look at the positive outcome achieved rather than the negative avoided.
“You heard all the talk about avoiding relegation, but the talk should have been about getting back in the draw for the fourth round, that’s what we should have been aiming for,” he said.
“It was an awfully scrappy game, neither team could buy a score in the second half, they’re always like that. If it was a point to no score to us, I’d have been happy with that!”
Finishing strongly has become a Vincent’s hallmark.
“In all of our games last year, we finished well,” O’Shea agreed. “We carried that through today, we badly needed it. We’re happy to be senior again next year, but we’ll definitely be trying to beat Clonakilty too and get to a quarter-final.”
In the first half, Vincent’s had begun well, with Shane Buckley’s ball-winning providing a solid platform at midfield while the pace of corner-forward Anthony Harte was a valuable asset, albeit one not utilised often enough.
Harte and Tomás O’Connell – after linking nicely with Gerard Kelleher – put the city side into an early lead as they enjoyed the better of the play. Shane Duggan then fisted over for a third point, though he could have gone for goal or played Harte in for a chance.
While a Danny Culloty free, won by John Ryan after he had no right to seize possession, and another dead ball from Ryan had Newmarket on the scoreboard, Vincent’s responded through Kyle Lynch to make it 0-4 to 0-2 by the 12th minute.
They were more clued in, with defenders Wayne Murphy and Kevin Goulding showing up well, but they could not make the most of their chances and would not score for the remainder of the half.
Ryan, despite wearing 7, was playmaking for Newmarket in a roving role having started corner-forward, and another free from him cut the gap to a point and but for loose shooting they would have been in a better position.
As it was, they ensured that they went in level at 0-4 each as captain Tony O’Keeffe equalised shortly before half-time. He did well to win Barry O’Leary’s delivery though a goal was on, while Vincent’s were aggrieved that the chance had come after O’Connell was incorrectly deemed to have taken the ball over the sideline.
Perhaps because of the prize on offer, neither side could get going in the early stages of the second half, despite the best efforts of Lynch for Vincent’s and Colin O’Sullivan, who had really come into the game at midfield for Newmarket.
Vincent’s goalkeeper O’Shea had at least four scoring efforts fall into his hands, but finally the stalemate ended as Ryan pointed another free to put the Duhallow men ahead for the first time at 0-5 to 0-4.
That jolted Vincent’s into life again and Lynch responded with an excellent individual effort to tie matters, but they then suffered a blow as sub Cian Barry was dismissed by referee Nathan Wall on the advice of an umpire after an off-the-ball incident.
When the football resumed, cheap wides on both sides meant that extra time loomed ever large, despite Newmarket looking stronger through the middle and having introduced dangerous attacker John Lane.
Instead, though, it was Vincent’s who pushed ahead in the 57th minute when Lynch kicked a free from his hands outside the D, and his goal, cutting in from the right before finishing well a low show, was the clincher before the insurance scores.
Scorers for St Vincent’s: K Lynch 0-3 (two frees), T O’Connell, S Duggan, J Buckley, A Harte 0-1 each.
Scorers for Newmarket: J Ryan 0-3 (frees), D Culloty (free), T O’Keeffe 0-1 each.
ST VINCENT’S: P O’Shea; D Collins, F Murphy, W Murphy; D O’Regan, A O’Callaghan, K Goulding; S Buckley, W Long; S Duggan, K Lynch, T O’Connell; A Harte, J Buckley, G Kelleher.
Subs: C Barry for S Duggan, D Duggan for Kelleher (38) D O’Connor for O’Connell (57).
NEWMARKET: D Quinlan; B O’Leary, B O’Riordan, P Allen; TJ Brosnan, M Reidy, P O’Toole; C O’Sullivan, B Daly; M Kenneally, K O’Sullivan, T O’Keeffe; J Ryan, D Culloty, M Cottrell.
Subs: J Flaherty for Cottrell (36), J Lane for Culloty (45).
Referee: N Wall (Carrigaline).