herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Boden bid to contain duo

Quinn and Connolly will take close watching

DUBLIN SFC SEMI-FINAL

BALLYBODEN ST ENDA'S v ST VINCENT'S

(Parnell Park, Today, 5.15)

THEY met in the semi-final last season. A quick burst of goals from St Vincent's decided it.

The Marino men, of course, went a few miles further. All-Ireland champions for the third time.

They are now bidding to secure their first back-to-back county title since they completed the three-in-a-row in 1977.

That was a golden era for the club. In '76, they were to collect the All-Ireland title.

In the semi-final of that competition, the Dublin champs beat Nemo Rangers at The Mardyke.

The great Jack Gilroy, Pat's father, stated it was the best ever performance given by a Vincent's team outside of the county.

In the All-Ireland final, Vins defeated Roscommon Gaels at Portlaoise.

Mickey Whelan was playing for Vins then, and he was the manager when they next claimed All-Ireland gold in 2008.

They say Mickey had such grace in the boots. The current chief, Tommy Conroy, also had elegance in the laces.

Last year when Vins claimed their 25th Dublin crown, Tommy insisted that this present team deserves to be up on the wall alongside all the magical names that wore the jersey before.

And at Pairc Naomh Uinsionn, the Wall of Fame is just that.

The pride in the shirt and the willingness to play for each other topped Tommy's poll.

And now he has them purring nicely as they endeavour to take another step in that most difficult of assignments - back-to-back titles.

There's nowhere harder to achieve that feat than in Dublin's Fair City.

Yet Vins have looked eager as they accounted for St Patrick's (P), St Sylvester's and Templeogue Synge Street.

Diarmuid Connolly struck the goal of the century against Syls. Mossy Quinn got a second half hat-trick of goals against Templeogue.

Boden produced handsome scores against Trinity Gaels and Ballinteer St John's. They always seemed in control against Lucan in the quarter-final. They earned that victory without Michael Darragh Macauley, who injured his hand against Ballinteer.

A huge loss as the championship approaches the last couple of fences, but he won't be far from ringside.

Boden were champs in 2009 under Liam O'Dwyer. Now Andy McEntee is the chief pilot.

And Andy, the former Meath minor supremo, has this week been hailing Michael's input around the squad.

Indeed, following the Lucan victory, Michael, hand in plaster, still managed to balance and sign a hurley for a young fan.

Michael was on midfield patrol when Boden took the prize in 2009, overcoming St Jude's.

Andrew Kerin hit 2-5 on that afternoon, and he's still humming. Boden have several more players that were on duty that day, including Declan O'Mahony, one of the best Lighthouse men in the county.

They have secure sentries in the likes of Paul O'Brien, Stephen O'Connor, Robbie McDaid and Dara Nelson.

Boden bristle in attack with Ryan Basquel, Sam Molony, Conal Keaney and Kerin.

Connolly and Quinn are the best double-act in town. If Boden can curtail them, they have every chance. But easier written than done.

Vincent's have a noble work ethic about them. That's what made them champions last term. They looked down and out in the two games against Ballymun.

Ruairi Trainor sums up their willingness to graft for every morsel. Ger Brennan possesses all the poise of Franz Beckenbauer.

Hugh Gill is a first-class defender, Eamon Fennell and Daithi Murphy man the engine room, and scores can also come from the tidy feet of Gavin Burke, Ciaran Dorney and Shane Carthy.

VERDICT: St Vincent's

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