Dominant Jude’s end Vincent’s reign

by James Hendicott
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St Jude’s ended their Dublin Senior Championship hoodoo on Sunday, reaching a first senior final since 2009 as they systematically deconstructed reigning champions St Vincent’s 2-11 to 0-8.

Jude’s were better in virtually every department at Parnell Park and, in a game in which Vincent’s went in as firm favourites, took control from about ten minutes on.

They defensively overpowered an unusually misfiring St Vincent’s forward line and hitting their stride at the other end to overwhelm their prestigious opponents.

There was little sign of what was to come as four-in-five champions Vincent’s started with their usual swagger. In the opening minutes, Vincent’s were so good that the points seemed to come from all over the park.

Gavin Burke, Nathan Mullins, Eamon Fennell, Tomas Quinn and Lorcan Smyth all hit the target as the Marino men found the space and the angles, and quickly went 0-5 to 0-1 up.

On most days, that would be a lead the champions would never relinquish. Slowly but surely, however, Jude’s started to hit back.

A number of defensive interceptions and carefully entrapped forward runs at the defensive end started to allow Jude’s the space to launch forward themselves.

Padraic Clarke and Niall Coakley were the benefactors but Dubs man Kevin McManamon was also causing chaos in the Vincent’s defence, antagonising and stretching Vincent’s in equal measure.

Seamus Ryan soon had Jude’s level and then they hit a sucker punch before the break with Padraic Clarke fisting an innocuous looking high ball past Michael Savage and into the Vincent’s goal. By the break, Jude’s led 1-6 to 0-5, and had scored the last eight points.

Unsurprisingly, Vincent’s brought out the big guns. Both Diarmuid Connolly and former Mayo man Enda Varley came off the bench to try and rescue the contest for Vincent’s, but Jude’s had things thoroughly under control.

The Tymon Park men showed intelligence in defence, taking a leaf out of Vincent’s book in killing large periods of the game around their back six and eked out a bigger and bigger lead as they did so.

Just before the midway mark, it had been half an hour of play since Vincent’s had scored, and Seamus Ryan stuck the boot in, finishing a lung-bursting run from his own half to slot past Savage after a one-two with McManamon in the heart of the Vincent’s defence. At 2-7 to 0-5, Jude’s were in dreamland.

There were chances for Vincent’s, in particular one for Ger Brennan, at a time when Vincent’s still had an outside chance of closing the gap.
Varley chipped in with a couple of points but Jude’s were only getting better and struck a few more scores of their own through Coakley and Chris Guckian to well and truly polish off the holders.

Jude’s have been known to give away leads in critical, late-stage championship games but this was clinically composed; a statement of intent from a club that have been due this step up in class for a few seasons now.

Vincent’s truthfully, were outclassed in a way they rarely experience, with Jude’s 2-11 to 0-8 win – and composed second half performance in particular – an emphatic message to final opponents Kilmacud Crokes.

They will get their shot at a first ever Dublin senior title on bank holiday Monday.

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