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Saturday 3 December 2016

Mossy knows he can't go on forever

Tomás Quinn in action against Castleknock during the Dublin SFC final at Parnell Park. Pic: Sportsfile
Tomás Quinn in action against Castleknock during the Dublin SFC final at Parnell Park. Pic: Sportsfile

The history of St Vincent's dictates that they won't accept their Dublin SFC title as the summit of their ambition, it's only a motivational tool to fuel the drive of this current team of players.

"For the first seven or eight years when I was here, we just weren't good enough. We just didn't have the players," says Mossy Quinn, who won his first county medal in 2007 at 27 after almost a decade trying.

Now he has acquired four to go with his three provincial titles and two All-Ireland club crowns.

"And the standards probably weren't good enough. The culture. People weren't demanding enough of each other.

"Mickey (Whelan) changed that. A couple of players tried to change that. And we've tried to keep that bar as high as we can, rather than falling back in," he added.

"And that is the thing. We are an experienced squad. So there is that fear that we'll fall back into the pack."

A process that looked well into its early stages of development in last year's county final loss to a fresher, smarter, hungrier Ballyboden St Enda's team.

Massive

"I took last year hard," Quinn confirms.

"There was a lot of … going for three in a row and we probably got caught up in a little bit of other stuff outside the game.

"So we've been waiting a year to come back.

"We probably didn't prepare properly for Ballyboden last year. We thought we knew them. But then (Donegal keeper) Paul Durcan was a massive difference. Everyone knows Paul Durcan.

"But when you're actually out there … he killed us on kick-outs last year."

So Vincent's weren't going to contribute to their own downfall two years running.

"We'd never played Castleknock," explained Quinn, who saved easily his most influential performance of the Dublin Championship for the final.

"So this wasn't just won on the pitch. We had to do a lot of preparation during the week.

"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 and you know what he's going to do when he gets the ball.

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

As there is in winning another Leinster title.

Winning on fresh, sun-speckled days in Parnell Park is one thing.

Excelling in the muck and sideways rain in a three-quarters empty provincial ground is another completely.

"We've been very good in the past about parking it and giving thought to whenever next week is," Quinn said.

At the time of the final whistle in last Saturday's county final, he was - by design - genuinely unsure of the draw for Leinster.

Once bitten, and all that.

"I know last year, one or two of us coming up to the final were looking at dates (for matches in Leinster).

"Saying 'when's this on?' or 'when's that on?'"

"It's hard. I've nearly gone out of my way. I've been paranoid not to find that out.

Previous

"Because it was one of those things, one of the learnings that we took from last year was - because we had two previous runs in Leinster - we were looking at dates and stupid stuff."

It's Palatine next Sunday in Dr Cullen Park, an ideal toe-dip into the colder waters of provincial fare.

And being Dublin champions, Vincent's are already massive favourites to win Leinster.

"We know this has a shelf life," Quinn adds.

"I mean, I'm 35. I'm very conscious of it.

"I'm trying to milk everything I can out of it.

"I love being out here. But I know this isn't going to last for too much longer.

"So I think there's an understanding of that within our group. And we accept it. We're not afraid to talk about it.

"We're not afraid to say this is our fourth (Dublin) final (victory) - but let's be honest, if we won two and lost two, it would give a very different look on what the team is remembered for.

"And we spoke about that. And look, we're very fortunate to come from a great club. But what happened in the past is nothing to do with us.

"We're trying to create our own thing."

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