Tomás Quinn has lauded his St Vincent’s captain Diarmuid Connolly’s dedication to the club after his All-Ireland winning exploits with Dublin this year.
Since the club lost to Corofin at the start of 2015, Connolly has been virtually going non-stop, but the Marino footballers have never lost out as a result of his hectic schedule. The 29-year-old has lifted an impressive eight pieces of silverware in that period.
“Whatever he’s won, you wouldn’t have a clue about it from the 10 minutes before the game or the 10 minutes at half-time because the way he’s tuned in, the way he’s focused and ready to play,” says Quinn.
“Inter-county players have it very tough during the year and a lot of them when they come back to their clubs certainly don’t get to the levels they get to when they’re playing inter-county and probably the biggest testament to Diarmuid is he always comes back to us and never goes through the motions.
“It’s an ethos we have in the club, we expect it of him and he’d be told pretty quickly if he wasn’t, but you can see how much it means to him. As a team, it gives us such a lift when he comes in and you see how focused he is. You can’t not then go out and do what you have to do. That’s his best strength, his mental ability just to be tuned in and ready to go.”
Connolly’s skill was on show in Sunday’s Leinster final in Portlaoise where he clinically finished to the net for the only goal of the game. “It was a brilliantly taken goal,” recalls Quinn. “We’re an attacking team and if there’s a goal on, you go for it, and there is no-one better than him when he gets into that space and it was a great finish.”
Quinn took most satisfaction from St Vincent’s producing their best performance of the provincial campaign against Rhode.
“We had been stuttering through Leinster a little bit. We haven’t got close to where our performance levels needed to be so we were very conscious of that coming in(to the final).”
Slaughtneil are next up on February 11, which comes a week after the Derry outfit’s hurlers’ last-four clash with Cuala. Quinn says the homework on them starts now.
“They’re probably feeding off the energy of either team and they’ll look at it as a huge opportunity for the next couple of weeks and it’s probably a huge challenge for them how they balance it. What they’ve done is an incredible story. Any team that comes out of Ulster is going to be good.” Quinn hopes the defeat to Corofin 22 months ago is a lesson learned. “The last time, we didn’t come out the right side of it and our management have been brilliant at preparing us this year, the way they have tailored our training. We have had a long couple of years and the way we ramped it up coming up to Dublin and the way it’s been managed, you can see how fresh we are out there finishing strong. I presume our management will have us the same again.”
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