Vinnies final showdown

by Karl Graham

ST VINCENT’S reached the final of the Dublin senior football championship after Albert Martin scored in a close fought 0-12 to 0-11 win over 14-man Ballymun Kickhams in Parnell Park.
Martin’s 57th minute strike was one score that the Kickhams had no answer to, leaving St Vincent’s as heavy favourites going into next Saturday’s final against first-timers Castleknock.
Mayo forward Enda Varley was experiencing a Dublin semi-final for the first time following his move to the capital and said it was a captivating tie to be involved in.
“I knew by the boys’ demeanour that it was going to be a close game. It was tense coming up to the game but we worked hard in training and brought up the intensity levels from the last game.
“Sometimes it’s the case where they go down to 14 men, you switch off for a couple of minutes and during that period they probably came into it a bit more.
“I think we re-grouped well at half time and even with 14 men it was always going to be a one or two-point game.
“Let’s be honest, Ballymun probably gave up two or three goal chances so we were probably lucky to get over the line.”
The semi-final may have been decided by substitute Martin’s boot but it was talisman Diarmuid Connolly who was once again his team’s star performer.
It was the Dublin forward who landed the opening score of the game with an excellent strike from his weaker foot and a tight angle.
James Burke replied instantly from distance before Ballymun spurned chances to gain a foothold in the tie.
With the game swinging from end to end, Ruairi Trainor was provided a gilt-edged chance to grab a goal for St Vincent’s but put his strike over the bar instead.
Indiscipline was starting to creep into the game and the game started to suffer as Davy Byrne was black carded for Ballymun before his teammate Jason Whelan was shown a second yellow card for a rash challenge on Connolly.
St Vincent’s took advantage of the disarray in their opponent’s side with two points from Tomas Quinn frees but Dean Rock got the last score of the half for Ballymun, to leave the sides deadlocked at 0-5 apiece.
The opening minutes of the second half saw Ballymun score three points to St Vincent’s one before Connolly stepped up to keep his side in a game that was threatening to move away from them.
He scored three points during the remainder of the game and Quinn was given his marching orders before Martin came off the bench to score the point that put St Vincent’s into their fourth county final in succession.

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