Weary Vincent’s dig out victory


Weary Vincent’s dig out victory

But this latest act of resilience was much more than that after they were forced to play with 14 men for almost 55 minutes, having had Ger Brennan sent off for an off-the-ball incident involving Kelvin Reilly.

Starting without another inter-county player, Diarmuid Connolly, who was also shown a straight red card in Wednesday’s Dublin final replay win over Ballymun Kickhams, their task against St Loman’s was made all the harder by Brennan’s early departure.

But this was an occasion when their former Dublin men came to the rescue, Eamon Fennell lording midfield in the first half to help Vincent’s into a 0-6 to 0-4 lead and then Tomás Quinn showing tremendous fortitude in the lone role in the full-forward line late on to seal the victory.

Conroy confirmed the club will look into the possibility of appealing Brennan’s suspension. Referee Damien Brazil appeared to take advice on the decision from an umpire.

“Ger is adamant that he didn’t strike, the linesman didn’t see it. I’ll let the club do that. We’ll want to appeal that, I’d say.”

Even without Brennan against Summerhill in Sunday week’s Leinster semi-final, St Vincent’s will take great encouragement from this performance.

They mightn’t have scored for 24 minutes across the halves but they could be cut some slack given their numerical disadvantage.

Fennell won six kick-outs in the opening half and added another couple early in the second as he left his mark on the game.

Ciaran Dorney smashed over two excellent scores while Adam Baxter was unlucky with a fisted goal attempt, which just went wide as the visitors belied Brennan’s absence.

St Loman’s struggled to make the best of their extra man. Paul Sharry was industrious but found avenues blocked while star player John Heslin kicked a couple of wides.

After a mighty Willie McGovern point in the second half, Heslin kicked a second free short but made amends with a couple shortly afterwards to bring the Westmeath champions level just as Sharry also began to make an impression.

What should have been a free for Dorney in the 44th minute as he attempted to strike for a St Vincent’s goal turned into a move for Shane Dempsey’s second point to push St Loman’s one ahead.

St Vincent’s levelled the game when Quinn punished a foul on Ruairi Trainor and although Kelvin Reilly pulled St Loman’s ahead again, it was neutralised by an excellent Quinn 45 in difficult conditions.

He then added a 56th minute free for another infringement on Trainor to transform the scoreboard and then slotted over his first from play after St Vincent’s pounced on an Adam Carroll mistake.

Heslin cut the margin to one with a nice clipped effort in the final minute of normal time but then Shane Flynn’s surging run from full-back and pass over the top for Trainor crowned the Marino club’s hardy triumph.

“It’s not about one individual, it’s about a group of players who decide they want to go further in this,” said Conroy.

“They didn’t want this journey to end today and that’s huge credit to them as a team. It was a heavy enough pitch and these guys have come out again and played 60 minutes of football after getting up for work on Thursday morning and Friday and they’ll get up again tomorrow morning. ”

St Loman’s manager Declan Rowley tipped his hat to the opposition. “You have to hand it to St Vincent’s. They took a lot of hits all week, they lost a man very early on and stayed very calm. The thing that won it for Vincent’s was experience. Just being able to hold onto the ball, make sure the shooters were in the right positions. We kicked away a lot of ball.”

Scorers for St Loman’s: J Heslin (0-4, 2 frees); S Dempsey, K Reilly (0-2 each); W McGovern (0-1).

Scorers for St Vincent’s: T Quinn (0-7, 5 frees, 1 45); C Dorney (0-2); G Burke, R Trainor (0-1 each).

ST LOMAN’S: S Gallagher; S Gilmore, S Flynn, J O’Toole; P Dowdall, G Glennon, D Rushe; C Kilmurray, W McGovern; C Reilly, K Reilly, E Price; P Sharry, J Heslin, S Dempsey.

Subs: C Cochrane for D Rushe (29); A Carroll for P Dowdall (50); G Hickey for C Reilly (57).

ST VINCENT’S: M Savage; M Concarr, J Curley, H Gill; C Diamond, G Brennan, B Egan; M Loftus, E Fennell; G Burke, T Diamond, C Dorney; R Trainor, A Baxter, T Quinn.

Subs: K Bonnie for T Diamond (20); S Carthy for G Burke (33); K Golden for M Loftus (36); D Murphy for A Baxter (42); N Mullins for C Dorney (57).

Red card: G Brennan (7, straight).

Referee: D Brazil (Offaly).

The key moment

It wasn’t until Ruairi Trainor’s 61st minute point that St Vincent’s fans could believe their team had won this game.

Pub talk

What did Ger Brennan do? We saw him try to pull Kelvin Reilly up off the ground twice but not the incident which led to the St Loman’s player fall to the deck.

Haven’t seen that before

A club team lose two All-Ireland winners to dismissals yet win a second Championship game in eight days. Gutsy.

The main man

Tomás Quinn, as Tommy Conroy said, shipped a lot of punishment and was courageous in his excellent seven-point display. Eamon Fennell, Ruairi Trainor and Jarlath Curley also impressed.

The man in black

The Brennan decision was the big one for Damien Brazil on a day when he otherwise gave a lot of freedom to both sides while getting the majority of calls right.

What’s next?

St Vincent’s face Meath champions Summerhill in a Leinster club semi-final on November 24.

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