Conlon hails Vins before emigrating to Australia
MARINO kingpins St Vincent's resume their 2011 Evening Herald Dublin Senior Football Championship campaign against Trinity Gaels tonight, but they will have to do so without the services of one of their most trusted lieutenants.
Defensive stalwart and Dublin player Paul Conlon has decided to emigrate to Australia indefinitely, and will fly out later today.
Conlon, who starred for Dublin in this year's Leinster championship campaign against Kildare and Wexford, was a vital cog in Vincent's All-Ireland winning run in 2008.
When asked by the Herald about his impending departure, he felt it was very much a case of now or never.
"I'm 28 now so time is running out for me in terms of seeing the world," he explained.
"I've given four years to Dublin and I have loved every minute of it and this year just crowned it off. They are a brilliant bunch of lads to have played with and deserve everything they have achieved."
Conlon was also quick to heap praise on his club: "I am so grateful and proud to have played for a club as great as Vincent's.
"It is a real privilege to have played alongside those lads.
"Obviously winning the club All-Ireland was one of the best moments in my life.
"I wish the lads the very best for the remainder of the championship and I have no doubt they have the ability to go and make another big push for a county title."
When asked about the loss of a player who Dublin legend Ciarán Whelan once described as a "dog of a corner back," Vincent's senior manager Daithí O'Leary could not speak highly enough.
"If a manager had 10 Paul Conlon's in the dressing room, it would make things a lot easier for him," he reflected.
"He will be a huge loss for us. He's an inter-county player and he showed against Wexford and Kildare this summer what he's capable of.
"He's a super guy as well as an excellent footballer so there will be a hole left in the dressing room."
O'Leary was adamant however, that the show must go on and it's up to the players to step up and fill the void: "Look, he's gone today and that's it. We have to get on with it. There's an opportunity there now for a couple of fellas to stake their claim for the right corner back position.
"We have a tough game with Trinity Gaels this evening but we are looking forward to it and looking forward to getting back playing championship football."