Monday 18 February 2019

Provincial odds are in Vins favour

Another Leinster win would set new record

Vincent’s captain, Diarmuid Connolly, and Ruairí Trainor celebrate their Dublin SFC final victory over Ballymun Kickhams. Pics: Caroline Quinn
Vincent’s captain, Diarmuid Connolly, and Ruairí Trainor celebrate their Dublin SFC final victory over Ballymun Kickhams. Pics: Caroline Quinn

There were a couple of not-at-all-subtle hints in Parnell Park last Monday week that St Vincent's had already fixed their gaze on higher peaks.

Maybe it was Brian Mullins observation that "at the moment everything is good but we've a lot of hard work ahead of us and it's only one part of the journey".

Or perhaps it was the fact that the unused Vincent's subs on the night were dispatched to conduct a training session immediately afterwards, while the rest began celebrating just across the Malahide Road.

Not that Vincent's weren't exuberant at a fourth Dublin county title in five years, particularly one won at the expense of their biggest and sparkiest of rivals these past few years, Ballymun Kickhams.


But such is the scale of achievement of this current bunch of St Vincent's players - to say nothing of their club's storied tradition or even their manager's own playing successes - it clearly didn't represent the summit of their ambitions.

The omens smile kindly on them.

Each of their three previous Dublin SFC titles have been followed up with a successful provincial campaign.

The closest anyone came to beating them in that time was St Loman's in 2013 when Vincent's, who had Diarmuid Connolly suspended and Ger Brennan sent off after just eight minutes, won by two points in Mullingar, just four days after beating Ballymun Kickhams in their replayed county final.

In 2014, they won their three Leinster games by ten, five and ten points respectively.

Last year, their winning totals were eight, seven and seven.

And despite the maxim that the hardest game in Leinster is always your first, Vincent's have been drawn away from home in each of their last three voyages into provincial waters and conquered all.

For the club itself, their record is seven Leinster titles in 11 attempts, a figure that when reached last December after beating Offaly champions, Rhode, put Vincent's level with Portlaoise with the highest number of any club in the province.

Plus, it's all of six years now since a Dublin club were beaten in the Leinster club Championship when St Brigid's were pipped by a point by a Dessie Dolan-inspired, Anthony-Cunningham-managed Garrycastle in Tullamore in 2011.

But mostly, it's a very familiar, Dublin-dominated picture in Leinster - clubs from the capital have won nine of the last dozen titles.

Naturally then, Vincent's are odds-on - 2/7 across the board - to set a new record of eight on December 10.

In truth, they looked a team who had simply come to the end back in February when when Derry's Slaughtneil beat them in Newry.

But the composed and measured way they plotted their course through this year's Dublin SFC - and the clinical nature of their final victory - made Vincent's instant favourites to get back to precisely that point next year.

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