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Vinnies dig deep to scale 'castle walls

THE blue and white flags were fluttering on the breeze along the Malahide Road.

Christy Sweets was heading towards Páirc Naomh Uinsionn.

The golfers were out at Clontarf GC, a Heffo haven.

The buskers were making music outside the Dublin HQ.

The lights came on for the 4pm throw-in.

Late November, and the Vinnies, the All-Ireland champions, are still rubbing on the deep heat.

It's a long Rhode that has no turning.

Tommy Conroy, in his Joe Di Maggio baseball cap, looked on from the bench.

His counterpart, Dessie Dolan senior, has seen a match or two.

In Westmeath, they have so often turned their lonely eyes to Dessie Dolan junior.

It was plain to see at the end of the hour that the Westmeath champions hadn't come to Dublin to look at the Clery's window.

They gave the Marino men much to think about in the second half.

"Come on the Castle," came the chant. It was getting louder.

Garrycastle hit eight unanswered scores on either side of the break. It included a neatly taken Dessie Dolan goal at the church end.

And that spell also saw Michael Savage make a tremendous save from James Dolan.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game," reflected the St Vincent's forward, Ruairí Trainor.

"Garrycastle have a lot of experience, and fair play to them. They put it up to us.

"At one stage, we were just a point up in the second half, and the flow of the game was going their way.

"We just kept the heads down and got a few late scores to win the game.

"It's nice now to be in the Leinster final. We'll do some work in the pool and get back to training.

"We are having a good season, but the main thing is to keep our feet on the ground.

"We know that on any given day, if some team plays better than us, they'll beat us."

It was Mossy Quinn who ended the Garrycastle scoring sequence with a free midway through the second half.

Then Diarmuid Connolly accelerated past a cluster of bodies for Ger Brennan to score a very important point with his right foot as Vinnies began to lift the siege.

Ger's left peg was also opening envelopes, especially in the opening chapters as Vincent's were enjoying a Grafton Street saunter.

In one incident, Ger was in front of his own goal at the score-board end. The traffic was closing in.

He turned back even closer to his own net to avoid being closed down. But the safety net seemed to be getting thinner. Yet with a touch of the Michael Flatley's, he found a yard to deliver a precise out-ball wide right.

Mossy's early goal was superbly taken. The goal chance didn't look on. He was speeding in from the left. The defender was at his heels.

The goalkeeper, Cathal Mullin, was advancing. Mossy had no more room than a telephone box. But he got his balance just right, and the ball sped inches under the far post and crossbar.

Shane Carthy stormed through for the second goal on 22 minutes, leaving the Saints ahead by 2-5 to 0-2.


Top tennis player, David Gough, was one of the linesmen. It looked game, set and match.

It was 2-6 to 0-6 at the interval. And, after the brave Garrycastle flurry, Vincent's signed the cheque six minutes from time.

Connolly played in Trainor, who was fouled. Goalkeeper, Mullin, got a black card.

Mossy placed the ball on the penalty spot, took a long run-up, and sent it low to the right.

Mossy ended the scoring with a point from the right that a curling tongs would have been proud of.

Mossy had also opened the scoring. Connolly was involved in the move.

At midfield in possession, his eyes were looking straight ahead, but the pass went sharply to his right.

Every footballer would love to have the Connolly bifocals.

Mossy had no more room than a telephone box. But he got his balance just right, and the ball sped inches under the far post and crossbar .