By Kevin Regan
Netwatch Cullen Park will be rocking this Sunday when Dublin kingpins St Vincent’s come to town to take on perennial underdogs Palatine in the Leinster Senior Club Football Championship Quarter Final.
It’s a game that Palatine have been eyeing up for quite some time now after they became County Champions for the second year in a row over a month ago.
Since that win over Rathvilly they have had the luxury of going to check out the latter stages of the Dublin Senior Championship, which is something that I’ve also done myself.
I attended St Vincents V Ballymun in the Semi Final on a cold Wednesday night a fortnight ago on a night where Diarmuid Connolly gave an exhibition of point taking.
I elected not to travel back up the following night for Castleknock V St Jude’s as I got the hunch that the outright winner would come from the Vinny’s game and this proved to be the case.
However, last Saturday I returned to Parnell Park for what was an enjoyable Senior Final with Castleknock proving to be a tough nut to crack on the day despite being physically inferior to St Vincents.
Here are some things I noticed about Vincents from the semi final and final which can give Pal hope:
- St Vincents do not like being ran at. Anytime Ballymun and Castleknock went at the Vincents rearguard at pace they either got scores directly or were fouled for frees which Dean Rock and Des Carlos converted.
- Former Dublin Centre Back Ger Brennan likes to sweep across the half back line and in front of the full back line. He doesn’t like having to mark and if Ciaran Moran can go at this guy then Pal may have a bit of joy.
- Their Midfield Pairing haven’t been overly impressive in the last two games with Daithi Murphy being called ashore early in the second half on both occasions and whenever the ball went long from the kickout the opposition had plenty of joy.
The key thing here is that Palatine have the strength’s to take advantage of Vincent’s weaknesses:
- They love to run at Defence’s and have serious pace in attack.
- They move the ball through the hands extremely well.
- They are strong around the middle area with Jason Kane and the Reid’s well able to win ball.
Now on the flip side there are obviously a few worrying signs ahead of Sunday’s game.
Diarmuid Connolly was held scoreless against Castleknock and had very little impact on the game aside from one wonderful pass into Tomas ‘Mossy’ Quinn, however St Vincent’s were still able to come away Five point winners.
Mayo man Enda Varley and Mossy Quinn are very dangerous forwards and they really came to the fore in the county final when Connolly wasn’t as influential. So Palatine have to keep the shackles on these guys but that’s easier said than done.
The other point I will make is that Vincent’s have players that are relatively unheard of on the bench who are actually as good as some of the better players on other club teams around the country who we may have heard of.
Joe Feeney is a prime example of this. I certainly hadn’t heard of him before Sunday’s Final and I doubt a lot of other neutrals did either but he came on and won serious ball, kicked a fine score and stole possession from Castleknock on numerous occasions.
On the other hand Palatine have that freedom of expression this coming Sunday and I would have my doubts as to how much or little St Vincent’s know about them and the element of suprise could work in their favour on Sunday.
All things said, I think this is an assignment that where Palatine would have to play at a level that they have never reached before while hoping that Vincent’s have an off colour day.
In the heel of the hunt I reckon Palatine will stay in this game right up until the final quarter and at this stage I feel that Vincent’s will draw upon their vast experience to see off the Carlow Champions.