Following Mayo's footballers

Vincents prevail in Christmas cracker

St Vincents Leinster champions 2013

The second Sunday in December isn’t normally the kind of day that you’d expect to see a rip-roaring Gaelic football contest but that’s what was served up at O’Connor Park in Tullamore earlier this afternoon as Dublin’s St. Vincents came out on top in a six-goal shootout against Portlaoise to claim the Leinster senior club football title for the first time since 2007 and for the fifth time in their history.

Today’s Leinster decider was a real topsy-turvy contest, the outcome of which was impossible to predict until the Marino lads finally got their noses back in front with five minutes to go. They definitely finished the match far stronger than Portlaoise and an unanswered salvo of four points – three from Mossy Quinn and the other from Diarmuid Connolly – hauled them from a point in arrears to three points in front at the final whistle, winning on a 3-12 to 3-9 scoreline.

Vincents have developed a habit over the course of this back-end’s campaign of making life difficult for themselves and they didn’t deviate from this script at O’Connor Park today. They found the hard-working, hard-hitting and well-organised Portlaoise side tough to handle early on but then two well-taken goals – the first from Ciaran Dorney and the second from Ruari Trainor – turned the match on its head and with a six-point cushion as half-time approached it looked then as if this one might be in the bag for them well before full-time.

However, two needlessly conceded goals at the other end – both scored by Craig Rogers, one from play and the other via a superbly converted penalty – brought the Midlanders back on terms and when Brian Glynn raised a third green flag for them soon after the break and Rogers followed this up with a pointed free, the match was now theirs to lose. At that stage, Vincents had suffered a ten-point swing against them, which for a match at this time of the year should have proved fatal but it wasn’t that kind of match today and, as it turned out, Vinnnies were far from finished.

The score that brought them back into it was their third goal, which was created by a superb upfield run by corner-back Michael Concarr who knifed at speed through the middle of the Portlaoise backline and then offloaded to the in-rushing Shane Carthy who dummied the keeper and rolled the ball into the net. Portlaoise lost but then managed to regain their one-point lead over the next few minutes but they were finally engulfed coming down the closing stretch, the superb Mossy Quinn – who bagged another eight points today, four of them from play – leading the charge as Vincents closed out a three-point win.

Along with their second piece of silverware in just over a month, Vinnies now advance to the All-Ireland semi-final stage of the club championships. There, in mid-February, they’ll meet the winners of the Ballinderry/Kingdom Kerry Gaels quarter-final which is down for decision in Ruislip next Sunday (I think I said earlier in the week that this match was also on today but it wasn’t, it’s on next weekend). Another road-trip, most likely to Breffni Park, awaits the Marino faithful then.

And, of course, Castlebar Mitchels will at the same time be squaring up to Kerry’s Dr. Crokes in the other semi-final. While Crokes remain the bookies’ favourites to lift the Andy Merrigan Cup next spring, I really do believe that the fates have now decided that it’s going to be a Castlebar/Vincents decider on Paddy’s Day. Both have one more significant hurdle to surmount early in the New Year before they can plan on heading to HQ in March but both can, I reckon, face into their respective semi-finals with increasing confidence about their chances of making it to Croke Park for the decider.

Comments

  1. mayo.mick says:

    Congrats to vincents. Was following updates on twitter. Sounded like a cracking match. Looking more and more like a vincents mitchels final on paddys day, foot in both camps wj!

  2. Willie Joe says:

    It was a smashing match, Mick, and both sides brought big support with them so there was a real sense of occasion to it. A Castlebar/Vinnies final is the outcome I’ve been dreading for some time but I’m now resigned to it – at this stage I think it’s written in the stars!

  3. David says:

    What about ulster and Munster? Surely they both have a shot

  4. Willie Joe says:

    They do, of course, David – in fact I think all four (if you discount the London lads which I think is reasonable at this stage) can with equal confidence fancy their chances of going all the way. I just get the feeling (which could of course be wrong) that it’ll be a Vincents/Castlebar final.

  5. mayo mchale says:

    Not sure where the ref was from but he sure as hell gave some very soft frees to Vincent’s near the end there – that said they always looked like winning. And for what it’s worth, I don’t think Willie Joe you’ll have too many Mayo people supporting your team from here on in – Dubs in any disguise are a no-no at the moment :)

  6. Willie Joe says:

    I don’t expect there’ll be many alright, Mayo McHale, and Mitchels are fully deserving of all the Mayo support they get. As I’ve said before, I’m a club member at Vincents where I’m involved in a small way there at juvenile level and all my kids play there so it’s obviously going to be where my club allegiance is. I’d still prefer to avoid a final meeting with Mitchels but if that’s what the fates decree, then so be it.

    The ref yesterday was Fergal Kelly from Longford. Whatever about any decisions made near the end, over the hour he certainly gave Vincents no favours at all but, to be honest, the ref didn’t have a bearing on the outcome of the game to any great degree.

  7. mayo mchale says:

    Living in Dublin for over forty years and rearing my family here, I know exactly where you’r coming from. And as my lads were always mad Dublin supporters – I felt free to throw in the above comment – the trials and tribulations of sport !!

  8. Mac's left boot says:

    People might laugh at me and they are probably right, but don’t discount kingdom Kerry Gaels just yet. Teams from London have proved surprisingly sticky at club level in recent years, and from memory there was quite a few from kingdom kerry Gaels on the London team this year, who are after all a fully fledged inter county team who more than held their own against Sligo Leitrim and Cavan this year! They won’t be that easy beaten in ruislip

  9. Steve says:

    Well done Vincents. Be great to see a Vincents v Castlebar final.

    On another sad note RIP Peter McCartan Hollymount. A gentleman who was passionate about all things sport especially GAA and Rugby. Many of you may have heard him on MidWest or in his Western People match reports.

    2013 will be a year many people in the South Mayo GAA family will want to forget with countless sad losses and tragedy’s especially in the past few weeks.

  10. Alf Stewart says:

    Apologies Willie Joe but I find it very hard to wish a team well that has Mr. Connolly on it.

    Interesting to see county form is being represented a club level with Kerry, Mayo and Dublin contesting the Semi final this year at both club and county level.

  11. John Cuffe says:

    It’s wide open this year, whoever is the hungriest. Pity that now takes over three months to close out two/ three games. We wonder about burn out, then throw in peaking for the Sigerson in Feb, some lads will be numb. Also we will have a county v club tug of war for a number of players , lads who should be given an unhindered run , the likes of Kirby, Walsh and a few more. I recall Knockmore seemingly suffer from that around 1997 when the likes of Staunton, Butler, Big Brogan and o Neill might have been useful to an injury jinxed county side. Day is coming where counties will pick a 40 man panel for season like the rugby leaving the clubs free to belt ahead in summer and the county lads free from serving 2/3/4 masters. Crazy the way things are now and with Donegal postponing club championship until county goes out makes asses of the bedrock of the game.

  12. man in Kerry says:

    Well done St Vincent’s.

    I would like to see Castlebar do it but am equally allied to Dr Crokes, so we will just have to wait and see. Its just not as straightforward as the championship.

  13. Digits says:

    I saw it reported in the Examiner that the amount spent on coaching and games development in Mayo fell by almost €40,000 in 2013. That’s FELL. This upsets me.

  14. Horan's Brigade says:

    Just a couple of quick questions arising from reports I’m reading elsewhere. I see that Stephen Coen might be heading to Australia. Is he likely to go? A big loss if he does go. However, another Mayo footballer (it’s reported) went to the trials too – a Shehroz Akram. Anyone know who this is?

  15. Sean burke says:

    Pretty sure he’s a Ballaghaderreen lad, seen his name on the under 17 East Mayo team last week.

  16. citog says:

    According to reports we could be in for a great Connacht final next year….Carlow v London!!!!……” to hell or to Connacht”

  17. AndyD says:

    Re Mr McGee’s latest proposals, how many from Mayo would be prepared to head for Belfast for a Connacht championship game? Antrim or Fermanagh would seem the more likely Ulster “refugees”.They would be following many of their kinsmen who had to flee west something over 200 years ago following the founding of the Orange Order etc. If implemented, which I doubt, it might also offer the prospect of a renewal of championship rivalry with Longford.

  18. John Cuffe says:

    The club championship is wide open this year and reflects more or less county dominance. We now have the ludicrous situation that two semi finals plus a final will take three months to run off. And we wonder why players get burn out. The Kerry, Dublin and Mayo county men are going a full year without any break. factor in Sigerson week in late Feb and its utter madness.

    The other thing will be , from our perspective, a club v county scenario. Castlebar have a few lads that deserve a [roper run with the county but now will have to pick one master. I recall Staunton, Butler, Brogan and O Neill absent from an injury jinxed Mayo outfit back in 1997 from a run Knockmore did. The day is not far off when county will go like rugby province, 40 lads will be signed for the county and the clubs will run through the summer . giving games to the bedrock and real future of the game. At the moment its madness, no club championship in Donegal until the county team exit…ie 30/35 players stopping hundreds from playing…. crazy and dangerous.

  19. pk says:

    Sure mr horan might like that john…he might not have to make a few decisions then haha. Re: mageee I think its a ridiculous idea. One last thing did anyone see the club stars? I think its amazing that 2 out of the 3 nominated for player of the year were on horans bench in september. Also interesting to see aos get midfield when I feel a kiltane man should have joined big bird. Anyway just thought by looking at that maybe we arent utilising some of our best players

  20. John says:

    Danny Kirby should have got a mf award. Outplayed the o sheas in July without barry moran and again in the final. Sure Barry only played 3 championship games for castlebar all year in Mayo

  21. facetheball says:

    The McGee proposal is just pure daft. If I was an Ulster county, I would be taking a dive in the preliminary round to get an easier passge in Connacht or Munster. Just put the provincial championship out of their misery and have a proper championshiop format, that is fit for purpose.
    It really is time to move on properly.

  22. Mac's left boot says:

    According to media reports mayo have a staggering €13 million in closing balance for this year. Does this figure include assets or is it cash reserves? I thought we were meant to be in debt??

  23. mayo mchale says:

    What ever the 13million means, you can be sure it ain’t cash reserves anyway……

  24. Willie Joe says:

    I’m no accountant but I think it’s just the value placed on MacHale Park in the Board’s accounts, which is obviously counterbalanced by the loans outstanding on the development work.

  25. MO2013 says:

    Ya MacHale park was valued as 18 million so unfortunately no 13 million in the bank just debts to pay off..

  26. opt2misteek says:

    Dang!…and there was I with visions of Gooch,Brogan etc being ‘encouraged’ to take up residency in our fair county….purely for the clean air,craic,ceol etc and shur mabye if they had nathin for doin on a Sunday afternoon…….Ah well!.

  27. Rossoneri says:

    I’m no accountant either, but how can McHale with outstanding liabilities be viewed as an asset. In the event where Mayo had to sell their asset, who would or could buy it?

  28. Willie Joe says:

    I think the liabilities are included in the balance sheet too so the net figure in the books relating to MacHale Park can’t be too positive. I don’t know who valued it, Ross, or on what basis it was done but, as I’ve said, I’m no expert on any of this.

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