St. Vincent’s (Dublin) 1-12
Rhode (Offaly) 0-6

St Vincent’s are the Leinster senior football club champions for the second year in a row and for the sixth time in their history after an utterly dominant victory over Rhode in Navan today.

Tommy Conroy’s side have now won 17 out of their last 18 championship matches at county, provincial and All-Ireland level, and they won’t have had many wins as easy as this one in their two-year unbeaten championship run.

They were thoroughly deserving winners against a very disappointing Rhode outfit, who have now lost four Leinster finals in the last nine seasons.

St Vincent’s led by six at half-time, a lead which should have been much greater, but they eased to the win in the second half, with Rhode finishing the game with 14 men after Pauric Sullivan picked up a second yellow card with around 20 minutes to go.

Diarmuid Connolly was outstanding for St Vincent’s, leading their attack with an intelligent display of controlled, creative football, while veteran attacker Tomás Quinn finished with 1-4 in a typically fluid display.

St Vincent’s progress to next February’s All-Ireland semi-finals where they will meet Galway and Connacht champions Corofin, who were comfortable winners over London champions Tir Chonaill Gaels in the All-Ireland quarter-final on Sunday.

The Dublin champions led 1-5 to 0-2 at the break at Páirc Tailteann, but that scoreline did not in any real way reflect the scale of their dominance in the first half.

The Marino giants could have been out of sight at the end of the first quarter, having ripped a badly out of sorts Rhode side apart time and time again, creating numerous goal chances.

As it was, Vincent’s led 1-5 to 0-0 after 20 minutes. Gavin Burke and Ciarán Dorney hit their opening points, with Dorney’s score coming a few minutes after he had struck the post with one of his side’s many goal chances in the first half.

The majestic figure of Connolly was doing most of the damage for Vincent’s, retaining possession with imperious ease in a virtuoso display around the half forward line. It was his probing which led to the Vincent’s goal after 11 minutes, threading a pass out to the right to Tomás Quinn, who did the rest.

Quinn’s finish to the net past Ken Garry was low and sweet to the left, but in fairness to Garry, he kept out numerous other goalbound efforts in what was a chaotic opening half for the Rhode defence.

Vincent’s were getting past the Rhode defenders with worrying ease, Connolly in particular, and points from Ruairi Treanor, Quinn (free) and Gavin Burke had them eight clear with 10 minutes of the half remaining.

As worrying as the defensive ineptitude was for the Offaly champions, they were also consistently taking poor options in attack and it took a brilliant individual score from Niall McNamee to finally get them off the mark with the clock ticking towards half-time.

Niall Darby kicked another fine score for Rhode before the break as Vincent’s lost some of their momentum, and their lead was six at the interval. However, it didn’t take them long to resume their dominance after the restart.

Points from Brendan Egan and Quinn ended a 15 minute scoreless run for them, and then the red card shown to Sullivan after two yellows rendered the remainder of the match somewhat meaningless.

Vincent’s emptied their bench and tacked on scores with ease in the final quarter, Quinn, Connolly and substitute Cormac Diamond all having their fill of it.

Rhode kept battling, even though it was futile, and they registered a few scores before the conclusion to keep the overall scale of their defeat down. That was ultimately all they could hope for at the end of a dispiriting day in Navan, from which St Vincent’s emerge as Leinster champions once again.

Scorers for St Vincent’s:
T Quinn 1-4 (2f), G Burke 0-2, Cormac Diamond 0-1, C Dorney 0-1, R Treanor 0-1, B Egan 0-1, D Connolly 0-1, S Carthy 0-1

Scorers for Rhode: N McNamee 0-2 (1f), N Darby 0-2 (1f), C McNamee 0-1, A Sullivan 0-1

ST VINCENT’S: M Savage; K Bonnie, J Curley, H Gill; B Egan, G Brennan, M Concarr; E Fennell, D Murphy; G Burke, D Connolly, S Carthy; R Treanor, C Dorney, T Quinn. Subs: Cormac Diamond for G Burke (47), T Diamond for R Treanor (51), Cameron Diamond for E Fennell (57), A Baxter for C Dorney (60), M Loftus for D Murphy (60).

RHODE: K Garry; J Kavanagh, E Rigney, J McPadden; C Heavy, B Darby, E Byrne; A McNamee, C McNamee; N Darby, P Sullivan, G O’Connell; P McPadden, A Sullivan, N McNamee. Subs: Shane Sullivan for J Kavanagh (18), R McNamee for P McPadden (41), Stephen Hannon for E Byrne (44), Declan Murphy for G O’Connell (50).



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