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Sunday 4 December 2016

Clash of the titans: Vincents face Mun showdown as Crokes clash with Ballyboden

Two intriguing clashes await as big guns collide in Championship showdown

Diarmuid Connolly, St Vincent's
Diarmuid Connolly, St Vincent's

HEADLINE Acts - St Vincent’s v Ballymun Kickhams, and Kilmacud Crokes against Ballyboden St Enda’s.

Two matches that would do justice to the Dublin Senior Football Championship final itself.

Then there’s St Brigid’s against St Jude’s, two other clubs who’d fancying having a sustained run in the competition.

Post-Sam, all eyes are now on one prize, the Clery Cup.

Lucan and Castleknock begin the action tomorrow night in a first round tussle.

Then it’s onto the second round ties.

On Friday, the Brogan boys will up against the All-Ireland final ‘Man-of- the-Match, Brian Fenton, as Plunkett’s/ER tackle Raheny.

Boden and Crokes are two Southside super-powers. They are well used to the lights of Broadway.

Everybody will want a ticket to see this mouth-watering production.

They have had some corkers. Perhaps the most note-worthy of all was in 2009.

It was a semi-final which, remarkably, extended to three meetings.

0-11 each the first day. 1-10 apiece in the replay. And Boden won the third instalment. But only after extra-time.

In the modern history of the Dublin Senior football Championship, that was one of the epic debates.

Boden won it that year. They beat St Jude’s in the final. Liam O’Dwyer was the manager.

It was Boden’s second title. Andrew Kerin hit 2-5 in the final, with only a point coming from play.

In 2004, Crokes and Boden met in the final. Crokes won it by three points. Mick Dillon was the manager.

Dan Nelligan was in goal. The number five jersey was worn by Paul Griffin, the Rolls Royce of half-backs.

Dan O’Sullivan and Niall Brennan were the Boden co-mentors. Ian Clarke was the captain. His midfield partner was Declan O’Mahony, one of the finest midfielders the city has seen.

In that final, Conal Keaney scored 2-1. One goal was a penalty.

That tally made him the top scorer in the Championship that season, pipping St Mary’s Shane Cooke by three points. Shane was a prince of a forward.

Finishing third in the scoring charts in the campaign was Senan Connell of Na Fianna. He was the fittest footballer in Dublin.

Also making it into the top ten that year were Barry Kennedy (St Mark’s), Mick O’Keeffe (Kilmacud Crokes), Peter Curran (UCD), Mark Vaughan (Kilmacud Crokes), Robbie Fennell (O’Toole’s), Tommy Smyth (Craobh Chiarain) and Pat McGeeney (Na Fianna).

In 11th position was David O’Callaghan (St Mark’s), and the rest of the leading scorers list contained:

Billy Sheehan (UCD), Shane Smith (Thomas Davis), Peter Lawless (Fingallians), Tommy Coyne (Erin’s Hope), Kevin Golden (St Vincent’s), Ben Kelly (St Mary’s), Kevin O’Carroll (Kilmacud Crokes), Jason Sherlock (Na Fianna), Frankie Ward (Ballinteer St John’s), Gareth Smith (St Oliver Plunkett’s/ER) and David Marshall (St Mary’s).

In 2012, the clubs met in the fourth round. That also went to a replay. Pat Burke’s late goal saw Crokes through.

Crokes beat Boden in the quarter-final of 2007, and a year earlier the teams were drawn in round four.

Edged

Crokes edged it by a point. But Boden almost snatched it late on when the Eric Miller of Ireland and the Lions came off the Boden bench and went within inches of a famous goal.

There were no goals in Silver Park this season as Kilmacud defeated Whitehall Colmcille by eight points in the opening round.

It was a tremendous effort by Whitehall from Division 3. They couldn’t have played any better.

Their priority before the off was to try and contain Crokes to the best of their ability. But they did much more than that.

They kept the match alive right until Leonard Cohen’s Closing Time came on the radio.

Gabriel Bannigan is the Crokes boss. Gabriel’s lieutenants include Maurice Leahy and Ray Cosgrove.

Ray is part of Jonny Magee’s Wicklow management ticket along with Jonny’s brother, Darren, and PJ Cunningham.       

Darren came into the action against Whitehall, as did one of football’s most exciting talents, Mark Vaughan.

Gabriel Bannigan had many fond days at St Sylvester’s. He led them to League glory. They were also on the threshold of Championship success. He was honoured to be asked to take over at Pairc de Burca, one of the giants of Dublin football.

He praises the commitment of the squad. “I’m very happy with the lads. They have been putting in the effort.”

But Gabriel says that putting in the extra yards will be crucial against Boden. He knows well what’s required.

“The Dublin Championship is the best Championship in the country. There’s no doubt about that. It’s so tough to win it. And even more so in recent years.”

The display of Colmcille’s told everyone of the depth that exists in the competition.

“Whitehall played very well the last day. They deserve a lot of credit.

“They made it difficult for us. Fair play to them.

“We just did about enough to get through it. But we know there’s plenty of room for improvement.

“We were a little flat against Whitehall. I don’t know why. But it gave us a chance to take stock and it made us realise how hard we have to work. Now we face a much bigger battle. A much bigger challenge.”

Andy McEntee is the Boden boss. He followed Conor Deegan into the role. They made the semi-final last year, losing to St Vincent’s.

“We gave Vincent’s a run for it, but they are such a super side. The standard is just so high in the Dublin Championship,” states Andy.

Terrific

“There’s about six clubs who could win it, and then go on and do well in the All-Ireland.

“This is a match that everybody is looking forward to. It should be a terrific game.”

In the opening round, they overcame Naomh Maur. Declan O’Mahony is still pressing all the right buttons in the Control Tower.

Andrew Kerin is still disturbing the cobwebs, while Robbie McDaid, Daragh Nelson, Sam Molony and Ryan Basquel also prospered against Maur’s.

Crokes last collected the claret jug in 2010. Paddy Carr was the manager. They beat St Brigid’s in the final.

Brigid’s second round date against St Jude’s is another tie that will have the turnstiles spinning.

It’s a repeat of last year’s quarter-final. Jude’s beat Brigid’s at O’Toole Park.

Kevin McManamon scored a hat-trick of goals. It’s not every day you do something like that against a goalkeeper of the calibre of Shane Supple.       

 

St Vincent’s

The long-time High Kings of Dublin Football with 27 titles.

Record to date: Beat Naomh Olaf   

Last winners: 2014

Talisman: Diarmuid Connolly

Herald Ranking: 1

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