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Wednesday 26 September 2018

mossy: we don't do tired

Vins well able for gruelling schedule says mighty Quinn

THINK of all the things you could do with a free fortnight. You could escape the encroaching claws of winter by jetting off to the sun. You could devour all four series of Love/Hate, back to back, peering out from behind the couch on the off-chance Nidge pulls up in his Lexus.

Alternatively, if you happen to be a St Vincent's footballer, you might simply turn the lights off and go to bed.

For the marathon men of Marino, rest and recuperation will be top of the agenda this week as they contemplate that rare phenomenon, a weekend off.

They won't be back in Leinster club action until Sunday week when they host Summerhill of Meath. Given events of the past fortnight it will feel like a month, according to their manager, Tommy Conroy.

DRAWN

In the 13 days between the October Bank Holiday Monday and last Sunday afternoon, the Vins played four-and-a-bit championship matches. Starting with their Dublin SFC semi-final against Ballyboden St Enda's, followed by a drawn decider (incorporating extra-time) against holders Ballymun, followed by their triumphant midweek sequel, and crowned by their AIB Leinster opener against St Loman's of Mullingar.

Even for a county team with plentiful playing resources, four games in a fortnight (or three in a week) would be a pretty demanding schedule. For a club team, doubly so.

Throw in the energy-sapping extras of slow starts, soft pitches and straight reds for their two marquee Dubs, Diarmuid Connolly and Ger Brennan, and you can only marvel at how they are still in the race for provincial glory.

Yet, as Tomás Quinn maintained in the aftermath of Sunday's latest backs-to-the-wall success, he never feared that fatigue would be their undoing.

"I wasn't worried, no," Mossy insisted, fresh from landing seven magnificent points in their 0-11 to 0-9 victory over the Westmeath champions.

"We've done a huge amount of work all year, and I always say training is the hard part – playing games is fun. This is what we train for. You enjoy playing games; you enjoy being challenged.

"We'd three or four days (to recover from the replay). It's not ideal but we're young men, we're fit. You just want to play matches and it was so good to have an opportunity to come down and play here after winning Dublin.

"You could turn around and say, 'We're tired or we don't have Ger or we don't have Dermo', but excuses aren't going to get you anywhere next week or the week after.

"We wanted to be back training. I think when you weigh it up and look at the bigger picture, (being) tired is a minuscule part of it. That's the way I approached it anyway."

There is the perverse possibility, of course, that a match-free fortnight could negatively impact a team that has built up momentum by not standing still.

Moreover, unless Brennan can utilise DVD evidence to overturn the red card that ended his Mullingar endeavours after seven minutes, both he and Connolly will be sitting in the Parnell Park stand when the Meath champions come to Donnycarney.

Quinn conceded that it hasn't been an easy journey to the Leinster semi-finals, adding: "Maybe we've added to that ourselves in that we've started games very slowly. We seem to be putting ourselves under pressure by our own doing. Ballymun got the run on us two days and Ger... again, it's our own doing.

"I suppose the positive is the mental strength of the team not to panic and not to go away from everything we've practiced all year.

PRESSURE

"That's the most pleasing thing, that guys under pressure can stick to what they're expected to do. The last few minutes of the drawn game against Ballymun, lads didn't take wild shots, we stuck at it and trusted we'd have enough. It took us 60 minutes out there (against Loman's), it took us 61 on Wednesday, and we're just getting in the habit of it."

The former Dublin freetaker was at the other end of Cusack Park and didn't see the off-the-ball incident that led to Brennan's dismissal. Manager Conroy revealed afterwards that his captain was adamant he didn't strike.

"I'm sure someone saw it or there's a video of it," Quinn surmised. "And if it was harsh, it was harsh. But we have to know as a team, you don't put yourself into those situations. It's disappointing but we showed good character to keep going."

Story of their season – a season that hasn't ended yet.

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