Connolly’s Rhode trip

by Stephen Findlater

ST VINCENT’S Diarmuid Connolly says that while winter conditions can prove something of a leveller, the Marino men are bubbling nicely ahead of the Leinster senior football championship final on Sunday at 2pm in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.
Speaking ahead of the final, the star forward says that while the soggy December conditions can slow up Vincent’s expansive style, they still are in strong form.
“I said after the last game that if we played that game on a harder pitch we win by a little bit more,” he said. “The pitch levels the playing field at this time of the year.
“But I think we’re in a good place. We’ve a very mature team at the moment. We’ve obviously got some good young guys coming in but most of the guys have been around for the last five or six years and have played in this competition and won Dublin championships and won big games for Vincent’s and for Dublin so I think we’re in a good place.”
Vincent’s face a Rhode side who are contesting their fifth Leinster final in the last decade but have lost each time in the decider. The Offaly side will be gunning for Vincent’s, too, following their 1-13 to 0-6 final loss to the Dubliners in 2014.
For Connolly, it means he is wary of the challenge posed: “I know they’ve won county titles probably more easily than we have in the last couple of years and they’re obviously stalwarts of the Leinster campaign and it’ll be a big challenge for us.
“We got an early goal and they struggled, they were kicking balls in and we were cutting them out. We played a sweeper system which we’re not doing now.
“We got a bit of a lead early and it might have looked comfortable from the stand but it wasn’t really, I think it was a tough game of football.”
Vincent’s have changed a couple of things in the last 12 months to bounce back after they relinquished their Dublin crown in 2015 to Ballyboden St Enda’s.
And it has put them back in position to potentially win a seventh provincial crown, something that would make them the joint-most successful club in the competition’s history.
“It’s never easy to refocus after last year’s county final defeat. The Dublin championship has been really, really competitive the last few years, so hard to win.
“Any team could win it and anyone that’s come out of Dublin and represented Dublin at Leinster or even at All-Ireland standard they’ve been right up there so… last year we were massively disappointed but Ballyboden were a complete unknown, no one gave them a snowball’s in the final but they beat us on merit.
“I said it before the county final that it was a hard thing to take, we were obviously going for three-in-a-row and a bit of history. Yeah, just getting back down to work and focusing for the 2016 campaign and it’s work out well so far.”

Related Articles