Garrycastle summoned another brave display, but All Ireland champions St Vincent’s just had enough class to advance to the Leinster Senior Club Football decider.
Ultimately a fine match at Parnell Park was decided by the brilliance of Mossy Quinn, who afterwards admitted that Vincent’s were fortunate to survive a real scare following a gutsy Garrycastle burst. “We just need to be more consistent,” Quinn reflected. “The thing is that if we play for just 20 minutes again, that’s not going to be good enough. We’ve got to keep going for the whole game.
“It’s a strange feeling because we’ve won the Leinster semi-final by five points, but we’re walking out of here quite disappointed. We know we have plenty of work to do. On one hand it’s positive, but we’ve a lot of work still to do.”
Despite trailing by 2-6 to 0-6 at the interval following Vincent’s goals from Quinn and Shane Carthy, Garrycastle, with Dessie Dolan highly impressive, thundered into the contest. Dolan nicked an opportunistic goal as Garrycastle trimmed a lead which had stood at 10 points down to the minimum. Vincent’s goalkeeper Michael Savage denied Gary Dolan with a splendid save and Des Dolan Sr reckoned that was a vital incident. “That could have been the turning point in the game,” Dolan Sr acknowleged. “That was a great goal chance and we had a couple of chances for points after that that we didn’t take. We could have gone three or four points ahead, but that was it. That was our chance to change the game.”
Dolan thinks the match could stir Vincent’s ahead of the provincial showpiece with Rhode. “Maybe it will. Tommy Conroy and Ger Brennan certainly came into our dressing-room and said they were hugely relieved because they thought they were going out.”
Vincent’s smooth finisher Quinn paid tribute to Garrycastle. “We made it tough for ourselves,” said Quinn. “We turned over the ball quite a bit and they capitalised on that so it turned out to be a bit of a weird game. We played well for 20 minutes and then left ourselves a lot of work to do. Credit to them, they never gave up. They kept going, kept fighting, and played good football. It’s a testament to them how close it was in the second half. But if you make a habit of watching 10-point leads eroding in front of you, you won’t be around too much longer.”
The Dubliners’ manager Conroy shared similar sentiments. “I would call it a real reality check now for us. At this level anyway, you just cannot take your foot off the pedal. I think the lads realise there’s huge room for improvement - on that performance anyway. I mean, there were some things that were very good; but there’s a lot of things we need to work on.”
St Vincent’s: M Savage; K Bonnie, J Curley, H Gill; B Egan, G Brennan (0-2 ), M Concarr; E Fennell, D Murphy; G Burke (0-2 ), D Connolly (0-2,1f ), S Carthy (1-1 ); R Trainor, C Dorney, T Quinn (2-2, 1-0 pen, 1f ). Subs: Cormac Diamond for Murphy ( 37 mins ), Cameron Diamond for Dorney (37 mins ), T Diamond for Burke ( 54 ); M Loftus for Fennell ( 58 ), S Byrne for Brennan, (black card (62 mins ).
Garrycastle: C Mullin; M McCallon, J Donohoe, A Fox; K Henson, J Gaffey, G McCallon; J Barrett (0-1 ), A Browne; G Dolan, D Dolan (1-5, 3fs ), M Guiheen (0-1 ); D Rushe, M Monaghan (0-1 ), J Dolan (0-2 ). Subs: A Gardiner for Rushe (ht ), D O’Shaughnessy for Browne (46 mins ), J Duignan for Gardiner (46 mins ), S O’Connell for Mullin, black card,(53 mins ), C Cosgrove for Monaghan ( 59 )
Referee: J Hickey (Carlow )