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Saturday 3 December 2016

Matching mental strength in Vincent's is vital: Carr

Tomás Quinn. Photo: Sportsfile
Tomás Quinn. Photo: Sportsfile

Not that you'd necessarily have St Vincent's down as the sort of team to suffer from fear of the unknown but unfamiliarity at this time of year tends to present its own dangers.

As Tomás Quinn said after their Dublin county final victory over a Castleknock team he had never encountered in his 30 years playing football at all levels: "The first time I saw my man was when I shook his hand at the start.

"And that's different. Because usually, you're used to playing guys that you know when he gets the ball what he's going to do.

"And there's a different challenge in that."

Yet by comparison to Sunday's Leinster club SFC semi-final opponents, Vincent's know Castleknock intimately.

St Columba's, Mullinalaghta won their first Longford title in 66 years last September and just their third ever.

It's safe enough to assume that the first time anyone in Vincent's devoted a thought to them was after their shock quarter-final win over Westmeath's St Loman's to set up Sunday's clash.

They key in conquering the unknown, according to Ballymun Kickhams manager, Paddy Carr is in Vincent's inclination to "continuously focus on their own performance.

"They challenge themselves on their own displays.

"Because when you emerge out of Dublin and the cauldron that the Dublin championship is, it's very easy to come across a club that not only have you never played before, you might not have heard of before.

"If the focus is on your opposition, the performance can be lowered. Vincent's have shown that they're doing more than enough.

"The challenge is obviously coming from the group themselves."

Carr has been "locking horns against Vincent's since 2008," in his previous All-Ireland winning incarnation as Kilmacud Crokes manager.

He has, in that time, acquired "great admiration for the understated way in which they go about their business.

"They are," Carr insists, "the quintessential team". "Because I think St Vincent's would be humble enough to admit that there are sectors of the field they can be got at."

Mindset

Carr's Ballymun Kickhams team did just that in the county semi-final but probably paid the price of a final spot by their inability to keep their discipline in a grueller of a match Vincent's never really controlled.

"To get across the line against St Vincent's is as much to do with mindset as it is with talent," he notes.

"I'm not sure it's some kind of tactical thing that is going to unhinge them.

"I think it's the team that can match their mental strength that does it."

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