vincent's comeback kills off the craobh
Late goals clinch Dublin JFC 'A' title for Vins having played second fiddle to neighbours
St Vincent's produced an inspired final quarter to edge out Craobh Chiaráin by two points in their enthralling Dublin Junior Football Championship Final at Parnell Park last Saturday evening.
Craobh looked the far more accomplished side for the opening forty minutes as they enjoyed a six point lead and a one-man advantage following the dismissal of Vinnies' full-back Mark Harney.
However, that sending off appeared to galvanise the Marino outfit and their ability to plunder goals at the most opportune times ultimately settled the absorbing contest in their favour.
Pivotal to their comeback was the leadership provided by Damien Russell at midfield in the second-half with the dual player instigating numerous attacks in addition to curbing the influence of the previously rampant Robbie Mahon.
Mahon was outstanding in the opening period for Craobh, driving his side forward after they made the worst possible start when conceding a 1st minute goal to Alan Moore.
The Donnycarney men responded superbly to that setback and after Mahon and Russell had traded scores, Craobh hit three successive scores through Kieron McGowran, Stephen Kelly and Mahon to restore parity by the 11th minute.
St Vincent's edged a point clear nine minutes later through Greg Murphy but the quality of the Craobh attack was evident in sumptuous point from McGowran, Mahon and Alan McCrabbe as the half progressed.
An out-of-sorts Vinnies replied briefly through Peter O'Flynn but Chiaráin's deservedly led by 0-9 to 1-3 at the interval following unanswered scores by Gary Kelly and Kevin Warren.
Craobh continued to impress in the early stages of the second-half with Seán Finnegan and Darren Kelly highly influential and they doubled their lead in the 35th minute as Stephen Kelly fired home from close range after Paul O'Donnell was dispossessed.
Mahon and Murphy exchanged frees soon after before Harney's dismissal after a needless altercation with McCrabbe left St Vincent's with a mountain to climb.
With Russell beginning to feature prominently and substitute, the former Dublin senior John Calvert, tightening up their defence immeasurably, Vinnies were handed a lifeline as substitute Niall Brennan netted after a well-worked move.
Craobh's shooting became increasingly erratic as the contest evolved while McCrabbe's sending-off also hurt them, allowing their opponents to draw closer when Russell rose highest to palm Dave Garland's delivery to the net at the end of the third quarter.
The impressive Warren inched Craobh two points clear in the 51st minute but a degree of sloppiness had entered their game and they fell behind three minutes later as Murphy turned superbly before firing an emphatic finish to the net.
Murphy turned provider entering injury time, releasing Moore for another great strike before McGowran's penalty at the death arrived too late to stall Vincents' wonderful comeback.
Scorers - St Vincent's: A Moore 2-0, G Murphy 1-2 (0-1f), D Russell 1-1, N Brennan 1-0, P O'Flynn, D Garland 0-1 each. Craobh Chiaráin: K McGowran 1-3 (1-0 pen, 0-1 f), S Kelly 1-1, R Mahon 0-4 (2f), K Warren 0-2, G Kelly, A McCrabbe 0-1 each.
St Vincent's: P O'Donnell; C Matthews, M Harney, D Smyth; D Garland, C McBride, M Garland; C Brennan, B Cole; O Cahill, D Russell, A Moore; R Drumgoole, P O'Flynn, G Murphy. Subs: N Brennan for Cole and J Calvert for Smyth (half-time), S O'Meara for O'Flynn (49).
Craobh Chiaráin: E Walsh; S Ennis, S Finnegan, C Donohue; E Farrell, D Kelly, D O'Reilly; R Mahon, K Elliott; G Kelly, A McCrabbe, K Warren; S Kelly, S McDonald, K McGowran. Subs: W Moore for Donohue and M McGuirk for McDonald (46), F Usanga for G Kelly (52).
Mentors - St Vincent's: Johnny Lambe, Robbie Lambe, Robbie Mulvaney, Albert Martin, Tony Lambe Snr. Craobh Chiaráin: David Keane, David Smith, Eugene Farrell, Sean Kilduff.
Referee: Finbarr Gaffney (Na Fianna)
Wides: St Vincent's 7 (5+2) Craobh Chiaráin 7 (1+6)
Conditions: A dry, overcast day.
Player of the Game: Damien Russell (St Vincent's)