Marino Mozart thrills his audience as chief composer Connolly runs the show for champions
THEY were queuing for tickets at Connolly Station last Saturday.
Everybody was keen to see the Marino Mozart playing in the Donnycarney Parish Hall.
And the man didn't disappoint, producing his full repertoire, including the Marino Waltz.
Diarmuid's box of tricks gets ever deeper. Left foot, right foot…..it doesn't matter.
Throw in a few dummies that Hector Grey would have been proud of. And shots and passes that come complete with a Louis Copeland suit measure.
Every little thing he did was magic. Rich applause greeted each gem. Oohs and aahs echoed around the stadium.
As one man said, he was like Maradona out there. With the hands of God.
He seems to strike the ball with so little back-lift. But it always has the legs to raise the white flag…..or even the green one.
And as the Vincent's manager, Tommy Conroy, paused to offer his post-match verdict outside the pavilion, the maestro stole by behind him, with the children waiting to greet him with awe in their eyes.
"Yes, we have always said that Diarmuid is a wonderful footballer," reflected Tommy when asked to comment on the Special One.
And he was also quick to salute the players around him. It takes many ingredients to make a good stew.
And the sense of team, and toiling for each other, is what keeps the All-Ireland champions simmering.
The Vincent's chief felt it had been a demanding encounter. "I was just talking to the Boden manager, Andy McEntee, and we were saying it was a real tough physical contest. There were some big hits out there.
"Boden pushed us very hard. The scoreline doesn't really do it justice. It was only in the last six or seven minutes that it opened up.
"We are pleased we are back in the county final, but we need to show huge improvements if we are to be successful against Plunkett's."
Connolly's precise left-footer low to the right corner at the score-board end at the start of the second half was the work of a man in love with his art.
It was another master-craftsman, Conal Keaney, who pounced to get the Ballyboden goal on 51 minutes.
Had Boden converted some earlier moments of promise, Keaney's goal could have ignited a grandstand finish.
Yet the All-Ireland champions never seemed ruffled. If Boden got a little too close for comfort, Vincent's would lift their level again and skip a bit further into the distance. But in fairness, Boden stuck with them. The Firhouse men were sound at building from the back, especially in the second period, but often they didn't turn it into profit.
"It was a good, physical game. Vincent's brought on subs who I felt made a huge difference," reflected Boden boss McEntee.
"Vincent's are a super team. You try to nail down one fella, and another fella comes along.
"But seven points in the end was unfair on our lads. It was a lot closer than that."
It was an enjoyable hour. There was a nice flow to it. Vincent's are not afraid of hard graft.
In the second half, as Boden pressed again, corner-back Hugh Gill made the tackle of the match.
The cheers rose from the stand. Hugh quickly got in another telling block, and he concluded the superb piece of play by delivering a neat pass.
Ger Brennan was delivering the post all day. He rarely misses the letter box, even from distance. He makes the game look easy.
He's there at the back sweeping up the leaves, brushing off a challenge, supporting the play and bringing colleagues into the game with simple passes.
A decent crowd showed up. The sun was out. So were the buskers.
And the folks that were asking "anyone there now for the scarves and headbands."
The lights came on for the second half.
And the chief conductor, Connolly, was still running the show.