Vins climb over 'Hill
Mossy's masterclass helps Marino marvels overcome Meath's finest and secure place in Leinster showpiece
WE'LL resist the temptation to compare Mossy Quinn to a fine wine, but there was plenty of that sort of talk, and loads of 'oohs' and 'aahs' around Parnell Park yesterday as he directed St Vincent's into a Leinster club football final in two Sundays' time.
Clearly, inter-county retirement for Quinn wasn't the activation of a warm-down routine for his football career.
Because based on his exertions during Vincent's 1-14 to 1-10 victory over Summerhill in Parnell Park yesterday, he's playing better club football now than ever in what is a high-quality body of work.
"I didn't expect to wind down," he reflected, having scored 1-8 of Vincent's total, with 1-4 coming from play and having effectively secured the Man-of-the-Match award by 10 minutes into the second half of a match that was tighter than the Dublin team's dominance should really have allowed.
"I came out of inter-county football and it was the right time for me. My body was in good shape, I felt good.
"I had a couple of years of serious training under my belt.
"Since February, since we've been training, I've been looking forward to playing these games, so it's just great that we're able to keep going."
Over the past 20 years, Meath clubs' record in this competition is abysmal, yet Summerhill had more reason than most to suspect they could be a rare exception, even in Parnell Park.
Their county win was a second in three years and so celebrations were slightly more muted.
Secondly, Vincent's came to Parnell Park without the suspended Diarmuid Connolly and Ger Brennan and by throw-in, there was no Michael Savage either after the former Dublin goalkeeper withdrew because of injury.
"You don't get better without the three lads, but in fairness to the lads that have come in, it has provided an opportunity for somebody else," reckoned Quinn.
Summerhill manager Declan McCabe elected to put Meath prospect Davy Dalton on Vincent's most obvious threat in what was a first start since May, and he can be secure in the knowledge that such duties will probably get easier from here on in.
"He just seems to make more space on the ball than other people on the field," noted McCabe afterwards. "I suppose that comes with experience, he's been there before, done that."
Ideally for Summerhill, they frustrated Vincent's early on and inhaled breaking ball, but Vincent's had more class, even if they only showed it in spurts.
Belated ones, too.
Down 0-6 to 0-3 down and showing little signs of cohesion beyond the half-way line, Quinn caught a hopeful lob from Ciarán Dorney, instinctively took on two Summerhill backs and dropped a perfect shot with his left foot into the corner of Tony McDonnell's net, a score that not only put Vincent's level on 25 minute, but kick-started a surge which concluded with the Marino side 1-7 to 0-6 ahead at half-time.
And really, should have been it, but Vincent's managed to make life unnecessarily difficult.
They went six-up and looked imminently capable of scything Summerhill apart but after Brendan Egan was called for over-carrying, the Royal county side eventually scored an opportunistic goal after David Larkin's point attempt dropped short enough for Paul Rispin to fist past Vincent's stand-in 'keeper Dermot Jordan.
Again, Summerhill took this as a signal to examine Vincent's fortitude and, with Conor Gillespie punching holes and kicking two points, they got within a point.
But wing-forward Adrian Kenny missed an easy chance to level it and Vincent's finished truer to their level, with Quinn kicking two either side of Ruairí Trainor and Eamon Fennell efforts.
"Maybe, with a bit of composure, it would have been more helpful when it really was in the melting pot," admitted McCabe afterwards.
"But again the word 'if' is in there, we didn't get there, and as a result we were (beaten) ... from when we went down in the first half we were always chasing it.
"The game could have taken a different turn for us if we had got level, but we didn't do that."
"Taking 15-20 minutes to get into games, we won't survive too much longer if we keep doing that," warned Quinn after his demonstration had been completed.
"You just try go and enjoy it. Playing games at this time of the year, it is the first time in years we have got to do that, it is better than sitting at home watching the rugby."