Diarmuid Connolly stars for St Vincent’s

St Vincent’s 0-12 Ballymun Kickhams 0-11: A 57th minute point from Albert Martin proved decisive as St Vincent’s narrowly defeated Ballymun Kickhams in their absorbing Dublin SFC semi-final at Parnell Park last night.

Diarmuid Connolly stars for St Vincent’s

Kickhams almost enjoyed a dream start as James McCarthy, returning to the starting line-up after recent injury concerns, kicked narrowly wide after a trademark burst down the middle in the third minute. The first score arrived two minutes later through a sublime point from Diarmuid Connolly with James Burke restoring parity almost immediately with a cracking point from distance.

Alan Hubbard spurned another gilt-edged goal chance for Kickhams in the eighth minute, allowing Michael Savage sufficient time to smother his low shot but they gained some tangible reward for their early supremacy through a free from Dean Rock two minutes later. Ruairi Trainor was equally culpable for Vincent’s at the opposite end, shooting over the bar with the goal at his mercy with Enda Varley and Rock trading scores as the half progressed.

Ballymun’s indiscipline manifested itself through the needless 20th minute black card received by Davy Byrne and matters deteriorated for Paddy Carr’s side three minutes later as Jason Whelan was dismissed on a second yellow for a rash challenge on Connolly.

St Vincent’s availed of their numerical advantage to push two points clear after successive frees by Quinn but last year’s beaten finalists finished the half poorly as Rock added a ‘45’ to an excellent point from play as the sides remained deadlocked at 0-5 apiece at the break.

Ballymun were sharper out of the blocks upon the restart and despite two early wides, they eventually regained the lead in the 35th minute thanks to a well-taken Ted Furman score.

Despite Varley replying for St Vincent’s, Kickhams were the more impressive team and scores from Rock and Furman highlighted their assuredness.

However, Connolly and Quinn replied in kind for St Vincent’s, with Connolly beginning to exert a profound influence on matters with a brace of typically outlandish points to inch his side one point clear by the 49th minute.

Rock answered in kind for Ballymun but their exertions began to take its toll late on and despite the dismissal of Quinn for two bookings inside the minute, substitute Martin popped up for the decisive score five minutes from time, confirming a fourth successive final for the Marino outfit.

Scorers for St Vincent’s:

D Connolly 0-4, T Quinn 0-3 (0-2f), E Varley 0-2 (0-1f), G Brennan, R Trainor, A Martin 0-1 each.

Ballymun Kickhams:

D Rock 0-8 (0-6f, 0-1 ‘45’), T Furman 0-2, J Burke 0-1.

St Vincent’s:

M Savage; C Wilson, J Curley, M Concarr; B Egan, G Brennan, Cameron Diamond; D Murphy, D Connolly; G Burke, S Carthy, Cormac Diamond; R Trainor, E Varley, T Quinn.

Subs:

J Feeney for Burke (41), A Martin for Murphy (48), A Baxter for Varley (55), K Golden for Cormac Diamond (60), J McCusker for Trainor (62).

Ballymun Kickhams:

S Currie; K Connolly, E Dolan, P McMahon; D Byrne, J Small, J Burke; A Elliot, J McCarthy; D Rock, J Whelan, K Leahy; P Small, T Furman, A Hubbard.

Subs:

L O’Donovan for Byrne (20, bc), D Keating for O’Donovan (50), E Reilly for Leahy (57), L Young for Connolly (61).

Referee:

Barry Tiernan (O’Dwyer’s)

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