Rhode hardly laid a glove on the All-Ireland champions as Vincent’s swept to another convincing victory. Tommy Conroy’s side were eight points clear after 20 minutes and were rarely made to feel uncomfortable by a Rhode side who didn’t score until the 23rd minute.
Leading 1-5 to 0-2 at the interval, Vincent’s had to sweat it out a little during the third quarter but Rhode paid a heavy price for upping the ante as centre-forward Pauric Sullivan was dismissed in the 39th minute after collecting two yellow cards in the space of six minutes. Mossy Quinn had hit the game’s only goal in the 11th minute and now, half an hour later, he sent over a brace of points to settle his side during a turbulent period.
“They just closed out the game and Tommy Quinn was excellent,” admitted Rhode manager Pat Daly. The game was gone from his men at that stage 1-8 to 0-2, but most of the damage was inflicted during the first half.
The champions made their intentions clear from the outset. Having won the throw-in, Vincent’s went straight at their opponent’s goal — Quinn feeding Ciaran Dorney for the first of three goal chances in the opening quarter. Dorney’s effort was blocked but five minutes later he was prowling again. This time the butt of the right-hand upright came to Rhode’s rescue but they were finally overwhelmed in the 11th minute. Diarmuid Connolly picked out Quinn with a sublime pass and the Vincent’s talisman found the right corner of Ken Garry’s net with a well-placed shot.
Leading by 1-5 to no score, Dorney almost made it third-time lucky in the 23rd minute but Garry got in his way as he pulled the trigger. Rhode finally lifted the siege when Niall McNamee scored an exquisite point from the left corner but it was as much a tribute to the quality of the Vincent’s defending that McNamee had to produce such a fine score to open Rhode’s account.
“Our full-back line was very tight on the Rhode inside forwards, on (Paul) McPadden and Niall McNamee. Jarlath (Curley), Hugh (Gill) and Kevin Bonnie did a great job,” said St Vincent’s manager Tommy Conroy.
Quite apart from their defensive excellence, Vincent’s were helped by Rhode’s inability to hold on to the ball. A succession of poor passes were gobbled up by blue and white jerseys.
“In fairness to Vincent’s, Ger Brennan does sit back there a little bit and we probably snatched at a few things as well. We were a bit off ourselves with the pass,” said Rhode boss Daly.
Despite playing with a significant breeze, Rhode had only half as much ball as Vincent’s and their shooting was abysmal — they managed just two points from 10 shots in the opening half. Vincent’s were also sloppy in front of goal and converted just six of their 16 attempts but the reality was that Rhode were lucky to be only six behind at the break.
Unsurprisingly Vincent’s increased their lead in the third quarter, adding three more points as Rhode endured another barren spell. Pauric Sullivan’s dismissal in the 39th minute added to their woes but there was already a gulf between them. Vincent’s were dominant in every area and won going away.
Their 18-month club championship odyssey has a long way to run yet.
Scorers for St Vincent’s: T Quinn 1-4 (0-2fs); G Burke 0-2; R Trainor, C Dorney, B Egan, D Connolly, S Carthy, Cameron Diamond, Cormac Diamond 0-1 each.
Scorers for Rhode: N McNamee (1f), N Darby (1f) 0-2 each; C McNamee, A Sullivan 0-1 each.
ST VINCENT’S: M Savage; J Curley, H Gill, K Browne; B Egan, G Brennan, M Concarr; E Fennell, D Murphy; G Burke, D Connolly, S Carthy; R Trainor, C Dorney, T Quinn.
Subs: Cormac Diamond for Burke, 47; T Diamond for Trainor, 51; Cameron Diamond for Fennell, 56; M Loftus for Murphy, 60; A Baxter for Dorney, 60.
RHODE: K Garry; J Kavanagh, E Rigney, J McPadden; C Heavey, B Darby, E Byrne; A McNamee, C McNamee; N Darby, P Sullivan, G O’Connell; P McPadden, A Sullivan, N McNamee.
Subs: S Sullivan for Kavanagh, 18; R McNamee for McPadden, 41; S Hannon for Byrne, 44; D Murphy for O’Connell (inj), 50.
Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow).