Leinster club SFC final: Vincent's prevail in Tullamore thriller

December 08, 2013

St Vincent's Diarmuid Connolly wins the race for possession ahead of Paul Cotter of Portlaoise.
©INPHO/Donall Farmer.
St Vincent's defeated Portlaoise by 3-12 to 3-9 in a truly astonishing provincial decider at O'Connor Park.

At the end of an epic encounter that saw the teams level on seven occasions, Vincent's registered the last three points courtesy of Mossy Quinn (2) and Diarmuid Connolly to take the silverware.

Portlaoise led by a point with 48 minutes played but it was the Dublin kingpins who finished strongest with four unanswered strikes to win a match that probably could have gone either way.

The sides were tied, 2-5 apiece, at the end of an extraordinary opening period. All four first-half goals arrived inside a frantic eight-minute spell between the 20th and 28th minutes. Ciaran Dorney and Ruairi Trainor had propelled the Vincent's into a six-point lead but Rogers' magical double - a classy finish from play and a peach from the penalty spot - dragged Portlaoise right back into it.

The Dublin champions got off to an ideal start when Connolly won a first-minute free and 32-year-old Quinn slotted the ball between the posts.

Portlaoise had made two late changes to their starting XV with David Seale and Stuart Nerney coming it for Malachy McNulty and Eoin Whelan (incredibly, only two of their team started as named on the match programme!). Nerney, who started at midfield, won a 40-yard free and Rogers tied the scores up in the third minute.

Connolly (free) and Paul Cahillane traded wides before the latter (who drilled a shot over from close range) and Brian Glynn fired the midlanders - who had the wind at their backs in the first half - into a two-point lead after nine minutes, 0-3 to 0-1.

When Eamon Fennell's goalbound shot was deflected into the side-netting by goalkeeper Mickey Nolan at the end of a good Vincent's move, Quinn - who had created that opening - uncharacteristically missed the resultant '45'. Quinn and Cahillane then swapped frees to leave the underdogs ahead by double scores after 16 minutes, 0-4 to 0-2.

Vincent's finally got their first score from play in the 20th minute when full forward Dorney finished to the net after Gavin Burke's pass. The floodgates opened as Quinn and Burke added points either side of a Trainor goal: 2-4 to 0-4 after 24 minutes!

Portlaoise needed some inspiration as they had just conceded 2-2 in double-quick time… And the inspirational Rogers took up the fight for the midlanders as he struck a goal for the Laois champions before winning and brilliantly converting a penalty into the top corner to tie up the scores: 2-4 each. Trainor and Cahillane slotted over the last two points of the opening period and it was as we were at the short whistle…

Brian Smith restored Portlaoise's advantage within 15 seconds of the restart but Quinn's superb 35th minute free had the sides level again. The match then sprang to life again as the goals continued to rain down: Glynn smashed an unstoppable rocket to the Vincent's net and Rogers' free made it 3-7 to 2-6 in favour of Portlaoise.

But the never-say-die Dublin champions drew level thanks to a Shane Carthy goal and a Dorney minor: 3-7 each!

Captain Brian McCormack edged Portlaoise back in front with a stunning point from the left wing but Quinn replied before Rogers converted a free won by Cahillane: 3-9 to 3-8 to Portlaoise with twelve minutes to go in an absorbing encounter.

The teams were level again when Quinn tapped over a routine free from in front of the posts and the same player then popped up with an exquisite lead point in the 56th minute. Connolly added the insurance point and Quinn clipped over the winners' final point of the match deep into injury time.

St Vincent's - M Savage; M Concarr, J Curley, H Gill; C Diamond, G Brennan, B Egan; E Fennell, D Murphy; G Burke (0-1), D Connolly (0-1), S Carthy (1-0); R Trainor (1-1), C Dorney (1-1), T Quinn (0-8, 4f). Subs: T Diamond for Trainor, K Bonnie for C Diamond, K Golden for Dorney, N Mullins for Burke.

Portlaoise - M Nolan; D Seale, C Healy, T Fitzgerald; K Lillis, P Cotter, B Mulligan; S Nerney, C Boyle; B Smith (0-1), P Cahillane (0-3, 1f), B Glynn (1-1); C Rogers (2-3, 1-0 pen, 0-3f), B McCormack (0-1), B Fitzgerald. Subs: E Whelan for Mulligan, A Kelly for Glynn, K Fitzpatrick for Cahillane.

Referee - F Kelly.

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