Vins’ unknown territory

by James Hendicott

ST VINCENT’S selector Niall Curran admits it’s hard to find out too much about the club’s Leinster senior club championship semi-final opponents ahead of their trip to Pearse Park on Sunday,
Longford side St Columba’s took home their first county title in their 66-year history earlier this year. They’ve gone on to knock out the champions of Laois and Westmeath on their way to a clash with Vincent’s and the Marino club will be treating the newcomers with nothing but respect.
“By all accounts, they’re a very strong community-based side,” Curran told GazetteSport. “Everybody likes to hear about sides like that doing well and they’re clearly very capable, with the wins they’ve pulled off already.
“They’ve never been here before, so it’s probably fair to say it’s the biggest game they’ve ever had as a club, and they’ll be really up for it.
“We’ve learned that they play a fairly traditional set-up with six up top and six back. But we don’t know a great deal more about them than that.”
Vincent’s are a familiar name at this stage of the Leinster competition and while the club are eager to make up for falling short last year, Curran feels they’re yet to quite hit their stride, at least not at the level of two or three years ago.
“The competition is getting better every year,” Curran said of the Dublin and Leinster ride so far. “For us, Ballymun [who Vincent’s defeated in the Dublin semi-final] was make or break.
“They’ve been a big rival for the last few years. It was strange going up against Castleknock in the final as we’ve never even played them in the league. We still haven’t, actually, as the league game ended up being a dead rubber and Dublin GAA called it off.
“We struggled against Palatine [in the Leinster quarter final] and the score probably flattered us. We really struggled to get some distance until the last 15 minutes and then went away.
“We didn’t play well for most of the game. We’re yet to really play at the level we want to this year, the level of 2013.
“It can be a little strange with the county players coming back in, and suddenly people who’ve been in the side all year have to fight for their places,” Curran explains.
“The boys are really looking forward to this one, though. These trips are a bit special and they can be a bit like kids on a school trip. They love going away for the day on the bus, out all day. We’re looking forward to it.”
Vincent’s – who will be at full strength for the semi-final – travel to Longford to face St Columba’s on Sunday at 2pm. The club are running supporters buses departing from their clubhouse in Marino.

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