“IT WASN’T GOING to be very open and we knew it wasn’t going to be too high-scoring.”
If Tomas Quinn’s assessment of yesterday’s Dublin senior football final is true, then it’s just as well St Vincent’s had himself and Diarmuid Connolly in their ranks to unlock the Castleknock rearguard.
The Dublin stars, past and present, shook off the cobwebs after a slow start and combined with devastating effect in the second-half.
St Vincent’s landed a 28th county title, while Connolly and Quinn picked up their fourth Dublin SFC medal.
The team’s high profile duo linked up wonderfully in attack for St Vincent’s, with their fingerprints all over good play from the Marino club in the final 30 minutes. Both men had a quite opening, but they were instrumental as Vincent’s turned the screw on Castleknock after half-time and eventually sealed the victory.
Much of this game was a slugfest, as a defensively-minded but tactically aware Castleknock made the game difficult for their more illustrious opponents.
This 0-15 tally by the Vinnies, including outscoring the west-Dublin outfit by 0-8 to 0-3 after the interval, required all the brain power and knowhow of Quinn and Connolly – the scorer and supplier.
“It was a bit of a blur to be honest,” Quinn added after the game.
“It was tough going out there and it was very competitive. We knew they would be. We probably dipped the last 10 minutes if the first-half and you could see they were getting more and more belief.
“We knew the second half was going to be tight and it was just important for us to keep clipping scores.
“Just a couple of opportunities came. [I was] kind of in two minds whether to go for goal with the first one.
“[I] probably could have gone for goal but a point was good in the end. I was just trying to get on ball and Diarmuid got a couple of good balls into me and thankfully it worked out.”
It’s a third title in four years for Quinn as his side reassert their vice-like grip on the Dublin championship.
Despite losing key defenders Hugh Gill and Nathan Mullins to injuries at a key stage in this campaign, St Vincent’s had the depth to comfortably deal with the threat posed by Castleknock.
“It might sound like a cliché when teams win but we are really relying on it,” continued Quinn. “Hugh Gill and Nathan Mullins have been two of our most important players all year and they didn’t play in the semi-final and the final.
“They are two of our back six and guys have come in and its been pretty seamless. Guys came in early in the game today and guys are just stepping up like Albert Martin kicking a winner against Ballymun and we have relied on that.
“We are the same squad that have been going for the last couple of years, we don’t have 18 or 19 year-olds coming in to kind of freshen us up. The guys that are there coming in have been there for two or three years and they are very hungry.
“They want to come in, they have a point to prove and thankfully they’ve been doing that.”
Ger Brennan’s red card looked like it might spark a Castleknock fightback as they immediately reeled off two scores after the two-time All-Ireland winner was dismissed.
Quinn felt that going down to 14 men might have actually worked in their favour.
“It’s one of those things that didn’t change a huge amount for us the way they play the game because they were leaving a lot of space inside.
“It didn’t really change a lot for us, it probably focussed a little bit for the last 10 minutes which probably wasn’t a bad thing.”
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