Image courtesy Grainne McKinney
ST VINCENT’S 1-16
Na FIANNA 0-18
St Vincent’s advanced to the last eight of the Go-Ahead Dublin Senior 1 Football Championship following their thrilling one-point victory over near neighbours Na Fianna at Parnell Park on Saturday afternoon.
With Na Fianna requiring just a draw to progress to the quarter-finals, they looked to have dodged a bullet as Conor Early kicked a glorious point from the right flank to restore parity in the fourth minute of added time.
However, from the resultant kick-out, St Vincent’s attacked down their left flank with corner-back Shane O’Leary afforded too much time and space as he split the posts with the last kick of the game.
It was Na Fianna that made the brighter start and after opening the scoring through a 2nd minute free, David Lacey doubled his and his team’s tally with a smart point from play a minute later.
St Vincent’s gradually found their way into proceedings with a Cian Dunne free in the 4th minute helping to settle them and they gained further reward for some patient play through unanswered points by Dunne (free) and centre-back Darragh Cummins.
Trailing by 0-3 to 0-2, Na Fianna preceded to kick the next three points of the game thanks to Lacey (free), Vinny Flynn and Aaron Byrne before another Dunne free at the opposite end saw Vinnies trail by the bare minimum by the much-needed first water break.
A cracking Dunne point in the 19th minute restored parity but their opponents enjoyed greater fluency up front as they kicked another trio of successive scores through Byrne, Brian O’Leary and Glenn O’Reilly.
Dunne’s fifth point of the half briefly stalled Na Fianna’s momentum but Lacey and Ali Fitzgerald tagged on scores towards the end of the half with Cummins and O’Leary exchanging points late on to leave the Glasnevin side 0-11 to 0-7 to the good at the interval.
Na Fianna failed to take advantage of the chances that came their way in the early stages of the second-half as they kicked two poor wides and dropped another short to undermine their plentiful possession.
They were left ruing those misses as St Vincent’s began to place concerted pressure on the Na Fianna defence that lost full-back Eoin O’Dea within three minutes of the restart.
Dunne kicked another excellent point from a Tomás Quinn pass with three successive scores by Sean Lowry, Dunne and Albert Martin reflecting their improved fortunes.
Quinn’s eye for a pass was once again in evidence in the 43rd minute when he picked out the inrushing Sean Lambe and after shrugging off his marker, the dual player hammered a rising shot past the helpless David O’Hanlon.
Na Fianna gradually awoke from their slumber to level matters again through Early and David Quinn but Cummins’ third point of the hour and another Dunne point ensured Vinnies kept their noses in front.
Ciaran Reddin spurned a glorious chance in the 58th minute as he dragged wide with the goal at his mercy and while Byrne clipped over a brace of points to edge Na Fianna back in front, St Vincent’s, who had Albert Martin dismissed in injury time, were not to be denied with O’Leary’s late point handing them a narrow but deserved victory.
Scorers – St Vincent’s: C Dunne 0-9 (6f), D Cummins 0-3, S Lambe 1-0, A Martin, S O’Leary, G Burke, S Lowry 0-1 apiece. Na Fianna: D Lacey 0-5 (4f), A Byrne 0-4 (1f), C Early 0-3, B O’Leary 0-2, A Fitzgerald, G O’Reilly, V Flynn, D Quinn 0-1 apiece.
St Vincent’s: A Smyth; J McCusker, A Cummins, S O’Leary; S Lambe, D Cummins, M Concarr; N Mullins, G Burke; A Martin, S Lowry, J Kelly; C Wilson, C Dunne, T Quinn. Subs: M O’Rowe for Mullins (39), D Parker for Concarr (50), K O’Brien for Lowry (55).
Na Fianna: D O’Hanlon; D Kennedy, E O’Dea, A Rafter; A Fitzgerald, D Ryan, G O’Reilly; C Early, C Reddin; V Flynn, B O’Leary, K Deeley; A Byrne, S Smith, D Lacey. Subs: G Farrell for O’Dea (34), #S Caffrey for Smith (38), D Quinn for Deeley (38), N McGovern for O’Reilly (44), P Quinn for Lacey (57).
Referee: Ian Howley (O’Dwyer’s)