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Wednesday 18 October 2017

Classy Connolly inspires St Vincent's to overcome battling Ballyboden men

dublin sfc semi-final

SCORERS - St Vincent's: D Connolly 1-6, T Quinn 0-4 (3f), E Fennell, S Carthy 0-2 each, R Trainor, M Loftus, Cormac Diamond 0-1 each. Ballyboden St Enda's: C Keaney 1-1, A Kerin (3f), S Molony 0-3 each, D Davey 0-2, D O'Mahony 0-1.

ST VINCENT'S: M Savage; H Gill, J Curley, K Bonnie; B Egan, G Brennan, M Concarr; E Fennell, D Murphy; G Burke, D Connolly, S Carthy; R Trainor, C Dorney, T Quinn. Subs: T Diamond for Dorney (36), M Moore for Bonnie (46, black card), L Bree for Egan (50), Cormac Diamond for Burke (51), M Loftus for Murphy (56), A Baxter for Quinn (59).

BALLYBODEN ST ENDA'S: D Walsh; R McDaid, S Hiney, S O'Connor; B Dwane, D Nelson, C Flaherty; A Waters, D O'Mahony; S Gibbons, D O'Reilly, A Flood; A Kerin, C Keaney, S Molony. Subs: M O'Sullivan for Dwane (12, black card), K Naughton for Flood (22), D Davey for O'Reilly (41), R Basquel for Gibbons (51), T Hanafin for O'Sullivan (58).

REF: Dave Feeney (Parnell's).

Diarmuid Connolly maintained his superb form with a virtuoso display as St Vincent's eventually got the better of a stubborn Ballyboden St Enda's by seven points (1-17 to 1-10) in their Dublin Senior Football Championship semi-final at Parnell Park last Saturday evening.

Connolly amassed 1-6 from play including five glorious points in the first-half as the holders were sporadically impressive against a Boden team lacking the physical presence of Michael Darragh Macauley while Ryan Basquel was forced to start on the bench following a hand injury.

The impressive Sam Molony handed Boden the lead inside the opening minute with a superb point from the right flank and it took Vinnies seven minutes to open their account through a close-in free by Tomás Quinn.

Andrew Kerin restored Boden's lead three minutes later but Connolly began to influence matters as he struck a brace of glorious scores inside 50 seconds to help settle the reigning champions.

Another Quinn free inched the Marino men further ahead and although Declan O'Mahony replied for St Enda's, the by-now rampant Connolly remained a class apart with two further points that drew gasps of admiration from the large attendance.

DRIVING

Ballyboden, who lost to St Vincent's at the corresponding stage last year, managed to maintain their equilibrium with Robbie McDaid a driving force throughout and successive point from Molony and Conal Keaney preceded Molony's third of the half as Boden narrowed their deficit to a single point by the 29th minute. Fittingly, Connolly had the final word of the half with another sumptuous score in the final minute as Vinnies enjoyed a 0-8 to 0-6 interval advantage.

The second-half took a while to get going but the wait was worth it as Shane Carthy released Connolly down the middle and in an instant, the centre-forward crashed an unerring left foot finish beyond the sprawling Daire Walsh from 15 metres for a goal of the highest quality.

In keeping with the recurrent theme, Ballyboden responded admirably to that setback, kicking successive scores through Kerin and substitute Daniel Davey and although Quinn replied with another free, St Enda's cranked up the pressure through added points by Davey and Kerin.

It took St Vincent's 47 minutes for another forward apart from Connolly to score from play with Quinn doing the honours and the game appeared to be slipping from Boden's grasp as Connolly kicked a point of beauty, dummying initially before cracking a glorious point off the outside side of his boot. However, a long ball into the Vinnies defence in the 52nd minute allowed Kerin to tee up Keaney for a well-taken goal to leave the tie delicately balanced for the final ten minutes.

That the anticipated grandstand finale failed to materialise was down to the greater options that Tommy Conroy was able to use from the bench and scores from substitutes Mark Loftus and Cormac Diamond and Eamon Fennell's second of the day ensured an ultimately merited but somewhat unconvincing win for Vinnies.

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