St Vincent’s keep travelling the hard road as they edge past St Loman’s
Westmeath champions St Loman’s unable to make extra man advantage pay after Ger Brennan’s early red- card
St Lomans’ Jason O’Toole tackes Ruairi Trainor of St Vincent’s at Cusack Park. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
St Lomans’ Willie McGovern with Ben Quigley of St Vincent’s during the Leinster club quarter-final at Cusack Park, Mullingar. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
ST VINCENT’S 0-11 ST LOMAN’S 0-9: Handed a wish list for this fixture, it’s hard to think what more the Westmeath champions could have requested. St Vincent’s arrived in Mullingar yesterday having played two county finals in the pervious week and with Dublin All-Ireland-winning forward Diarmuid Connolly suspended.
As if the Dubliners four days after their replay win over Leinster champions Ballymun hadn’t enough on their plate, their other Dublin star, centre back Ger Brennan, was shown a straight red card before seven minutes had elapsed.
Yet from then on they held out and for the vast preponderance of the match, were in front.
A young St Loman’s side, having won a first county title this year, were left ruing their inability to make more of both the extra man and their captain and talisman John Heslin, whose scoring binges had been such a feature of the club’s progress this season.
He began well, wandering into acres of space to open the scoring. Yet maybe the course of the match actually helped Vincent’s in that the loss of Brennan – for an apparent incident involving Kelvin Reilly – must have ramped up their adrenalin levels to a point where they forgot about fatigue and any lingering notion of complacency and instead put their heads down.
It was two former Dublin players who had the biggest impact. At centrefield Eamon Fennell dominated the kick-outs, especially in the first half, and ploughing an at times lone furrow up front, Tomás Quinn was excellent.
He showed tirelessly for the ball, took the brunt of defensive attentions and kicked accurately, just sending one free wide on an afternoon when he scored seven points.
Quinn also set up his team’s best goal chance when dropping the ball across the square for Adam Baxter’s fisted contact to send it narrowly wide into the side-netting.
In goal Michael Savage stopped the alarming start to the match becoming a crisis when he saved one-on-one from Shane Dempsey and also blocked for a ‘45’ Kelvin Reilly’s shot off the rebound.
Dempsey pushed Loman’s 0-3 to 0-2 ahead on 15 minutes, a lovely curling shot after stepping in from the left corner but somehow the Dublin champions regained the initiative. Two frees from Quinn and points from Ciarán Dorney, from a turnover, and Gavin Burke meant that they led 0-6 to 0-4 at half-time.
Loman’s used the already deep-lying corner forward Paul Sharry as the spare man and he worked hard shuttling backwards and forwards but the Westmeath champions rarely looked as if they had a numerical advantage.
A low-scoring third quarter was their best phase. Steven Gallagher saved well from Dorney and a couple of frees from Heslin – whose dead-ball shooting was uncharacteristically tentative – plus another point by Reilly pushed them ahead.
A double save by Gallagher and Steven Gilmore from Quinn and Kevin Golden set up a ‘45’ for Quinn to level the match and after that they outscored their opponents 0-3 to 0-1.
Heslin had countered another free plus a score from play by Quinn with a point of his own but a great surging run by Vincent’s full back Jarlath Curley set up Ruairí Trainor for the final score in injury-time.