St Vincent’s (Dublin) 1-14 Summerhill (Meath) 1-10
When Tomas Quinn quit Dublin a year ago, a gentle wind down towards full retirement was what many anticipated.
Already the holder of All-Ireland medals at club and county level, he could have simply freewheeled through his remaining years, his name already made.
Instead, he has summoned the form of his career and is playing the sort of football that first earned him his county spurs a decade ago.
In the absence of suspended Dublin stars Diarmuid Connolly and Ger Brennan, Quinn stood up to the plate at Parnell Park and kicked 1-8. He is the team’s free-taker but 1-4 of his tally came from open play.
As Summerhill manager Declan McCabe observed afterwards, Quinn seemed to able to create the sort of space no-one else could.
Two interventions from the seven time Leinster title winner with Dublin were of critical importance to his side’s progression to a December 8 final showdown with Portlaoise.
Trailing by three points after a strong Summerhill start, Quinn took control of proceedings in the 25th minute, running right to left across goals and unleashing a brilliant left-footed shot to the net. He would add four more points by the 33rd minute to leave Vincent’s six clear and, apparently, in control.
Summerhill, Meath champions two of the last three seasons, would fight back to within a point of Vincent’s with 20 minutes to go.
But they were unable to draw level and as the game hung in the balance, Quinn once again stepped in to kick the next score, a crucial one that put the Dublin men two clear. From there, they wouldn’t look back.
“Well, I didn’t expect to wind down,” said Quinn afterwards on the issue of living life easily after Dublin. “I came out of inter-county football and it was the right time for me. My body was in good shape. I felt good. I had a couple of years of serious training under my belt. Thankfully I’ve been injury free too and the challenge was to stay that way and make an impact at club level.”
Meath defender Davy Dalton was thrust back into action after a long-term injury and straight onto Quinn. He fared well early on, winning the first three balls but picked up a 19th minute yellow card for a foul on Quinn, converted moments later, and found the going difficult from then on.
“Mossy Quinn has proved to be a big thorn in people’s sides to date and he was again there,” said Summerhill boss McCabe. “He just seems to make more space on the ball than other people on the field. I suppose that comes with experience. He’s been there. He’s done that.”
Afterwards, the Summerhill players crowded around a reporter’s iPhone streaming live coverage of Ireland’s near miss across the city against New Zealand. They will lament their own missed opportunity, particularly in the absence of Brennan and Connolly who are back for the provincial decider.
“The opportunity missed aspect was more about ourselves, about what we didn’t do in terms of when we had the game there, we didn’t grab it by the throat,” said McCabe. “Probably a couple of chances we didn’t take.”
After such a good start at Parnell Park, elder members of the vocal Summerhill support recalled a famous win over the Dublin side in 1977. Back then, Summerhill shot five goals past a star-studded Vincent’s team including Dublin icons Brian Mullins, Jimmy Keaveney, Tony Hanahoe and Gay O’Driscoll. Despite odds of 9/2 they threatened a repeat victory when they moved 0-6 to 0-3 ahead.
Meath midfielder Conor Gillespie was excellent, scoring one point and winning a great ball for another that Davy Larkin booted over.
The game swung in Vincent’s favour shortly after though when Quinn slalomed through Summerhill’s defence from right to left and shot low back across goal.
Summerhill didn’t score again until early in the second half, by which time Quinn curled over another point from play and three placed balls to put them 1-9 to 0-6 clear.
Summerhill were weakened by an injury to centre-back Alan Lyons .
The six point gap remained at 1-10 to 0-7 when Paul Rispin ignited the game once more with a Summerhill goal, flicking in from a 37th minute Larkin shot that fell short.
With Gillespie impressing and adding another point, Summerhill clawed their way back to within one of Vincent’s after 40 minutes.
Neither side scored for seven minutes until a Quinn point put two between them again. From there, Vincent’s strode three, then four clear with points from Ruairi Trainor, Eamon Fennell and Quinn to ease home.
Scorers for St Vincent’s: T Quinn 1-8 (three frees, one ‘45), G Burke and R Trainor 0-2 each, S Carthy and E Fennell 0-1 each.
Scorers for Summerhill: P Rispin 1-0, B Ennis 0-3 (three frees), C Gillespie and S Dalton 0-2 each, D Larkin, A Kenny and M Byrne (one free) 0-1 each.
ST VINCENT’S: D Jordan; K Bonnie, J Curley, H Gill; Cameron Diamond, B Egan, M Concarr; D Murphy, E Fennell; G Burke, R Trainor, S Carthy; A Baxter, C Dorney, T Quinn.
Subs: K Golden for Baxter (38), T Diamond for Dorney (50), N Mullins for Burke (53).
SUMMERHILL: T McDonnell; D Dalton, C Young, W Ryan; P Geraghty, A Lyons, S Husband; M Byrne, C Gillespie; A Kenny, B Ennis, D Larkin; S Dalton, B Dardis, P Rispin.
Subs: R Hatton for Lyons (24), S Kennedy for Dardis (56), P Jennings for Geraghty (60).
Referee: E Kinsella (Laois).
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