herald

Friday 18 August 2017

A night at the opera is in store for clash of the heavyweights

ST VINCENT'S v ST OLIVER PLUNKETT'S er PARNELL PARK (TONIGHT 7.45)

THREE steps to Heaven for St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh? t's their third final. The first was in 2008.

Kilmacud won it in a replay. Bernard Brogan hit ten points that night, seven from play.

Back came Plunkett's in 2011. Brigid's beat them by two points.

That side contained Michael Brides, Conor Evans, Anthony Moyles and Jason Sherlock.

Not much cheer in the last couple of years. Some felt the race had been run on the Navan Road.

Dermot Kelly (2008) and Mick Galvin (2011) came so close to the cigar.

And now Pat McDonagh wears the bib.

Like Plunkett's, Vincent's have gone briskly about their business.

They bring a huge work ethic to the stage. They needed it against Ballyboden in the semi-final.

It was another master-class from Diarmuid Connolly. But manager, Tommy Conroy, was quick to praise the overall effort of the team.

He highlighted those that came off the bench. And hailed one of the best gate-keepers in the county, Michael Savage.

Ger Brennan was in the control tower in the number six jersey. He was a heart-beat of the victory.

SOLID

The Marino defensive unit is very solid. Eamon Fennell and Daithi Murphy bring much energy and guile to the engine room.

Gavin Burke always puts in an honest shift, Ruairi Trainor possesses the pace of the panther. Mossy Quinn's vision could open envelopes, and there's scores in the tidy feet of Shane Carthy and Ciaran Dorney.

This season, Plunkett's have perfected the art of shutting doors. Their defensive shield has helped to see off two of the giants, Kilmacud Crokes and Ballymun Kickhams.

They also defeated St Anne's, and in the semi-final, they overcame St Jude's.

They had to graft hard against Jude's. The score-line didn't tell the full story.

But the only goal of the game showed how the lauded Connolly-Quinn pairing can be matched by the Brogan boys.

Alan found Bernard, who showed strength in getting clear on goal. And once in that position, he produced the slickest of finishes.

Ross McConnell, Conor Walsh, Niall Walsh and Nesty Smith are among the Plunkett's aces, while they don't lack first-class defenders. Rory O'Connor and Shane Lyons are among them.

Vincent's return to the final has seen them topple St Patrick's (P), St Sylvester's, Templeogue Synge Street and Boden in that semi-final. Beating Boden was tough. Beating the re-born Plunkett's will be even tougher.

VERDICT: St Vincent's

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