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Despite the scoreline, the opening 25 minutes of this game were closely contested. Vincent’s created a few half-chances, and Barra Neary came close, flashing an angled drive just wide of the far post after cutting in from the right. At the other end, Ronan McDermott kept it scoreless with a smart save low to his left from a snap-shot inside the box. After the opening exchanges, Vincent’s pressed the pace of the game and began to drag the visiting team out of position. Space opened up for forward runs, link-play and direct passes to the attackers’ feet. A sustained period of pressure led to the opening goal, when Edward Wrynn finished into the bottom corner after being played through — 1-0 was the score at half-time.
In a case of ‘blink and you miss it’, Aidan McGrath broke the offside trap and gave Vincent’s a 2-0 lead a minute into the second half. Aidan doubled his tally a short while later, rounding the keeper and finishing from an acute angle. The only question at this point was what the margin of victory would be. Barry Power made it 4-0 with a trademark drive across the keeper after a team move down the right, and Edward Wrynn scored twice more to bring the Vincent’s tally to six. Greenhills/Greenpark pulled back a late consolation goal from a free kick. Aside from the strikers, Rory Durand, Darren McMahon and Tommy Fitzgerald put in strong performances.
Six-one was the final score, which was by no means flattering. The result kept the club top of the table for another week coming into the business end of the season.
Vincent’s key performer
Edward Wrynn scored his first goals for the club and finished with a hat-trick in a dynamic performance. Dribbling dangerously, Eddy beat defenders and created opportunities throughout for teammates and himself. The speedy winger will be relied upon to add to his goal total in the weeks ahead.
Match day squad
Ronan McDermott, Andrew Delaney, Darren McMahon, Tommy Fitzgerald, Dean Huggard, Peter Kelly, Rory Durand, Edward Wrynn, Fionn Nally, Aidan McGrath, Barra Neary, John Cosgrove, Barry Power, David Brennan, Gavin Kane, Patrick O’Connor.
St Vincent’s ‘two’ good for Portlaoise
St Vincent’s maintained their league title bid with a well-deserved 2-0 home win against Portlaoise AFC. Aidan McGrath opened the scoring, his 16th of the season, and Barry Power claimed the second. The club is on a nine-game unbeaten league run and the result preserves a slender advantage at the top of the league table.
The game showed how far the team has come since a hard-fought 0-0 away draw against Portlaoise in the league’s opening game back in August. The defensive platform has become a hallmark, ranking second across all nine Saturday divisions, and the speed of ball movement and attacking link-play has improved to add a more consistent goal threat.
Bossing the first 45 minutes, Vincent’s controlled possession and carved Portlaoise open with regularity. The opener came when Barry Power smashed a shot off the crossbar from all of three yards, and Aidan McGrath slotted home the rebound to spare his blushes. Barry claimed the second when his low driven cross gave the goalkeeper some trouble and ended up in the back of the net.
Portlaoise refused to roll over and deserve credit for forcing their way back into proceedings in the second half. The Vincent’s defence, marshalled by Tommy Fitzgerald and Andrew Delaney, were up to the challenge, however, and Ronan McDermott made key saves when Portlaoise did threaten. At the other end, Vincent’s squandered numerous gilt-edged chances to put the game to bed. Eddy Wrynn hit the side netting from five yards out after rounding the keeper, Gav Kane put a header wide from an even closer distance, and Aidan McGrath missed a penalty.
A solid victory, and Vincent’s will look to keep the momentum going, especially given the number of teams waiting to capitalise on any stumbles.
Vincent’s key performer
Tommy Fitzgerald had an outstanding game at the heart of the defence. The Rathfarnham-based GP is an imposing physical presence and is a nightmare for opposing strikers. Tommy leads from the back, oozes calm when the team is under pressure, and has been a central figure throughout the season.
Match day squad
Ronan McDermott, Rory Durand, David Brennan, Andrew Delaney, Tommy Fitzgerald, Paul Carroll, Peter Kelly, Ruairi Irwin, Barry Power, Aidan McGrath, Edward Wrynn, John Cosgrove, Gav Kane, Ronan Murray, Robert Trueick, Nathan Wall.
St Vincent’s welcomed Newlands/Castle Park FC to St Benildus on Friday, 6 April, with the match finishing 0-0.
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Player zone: Darren McMahon
Darren McMahon, full-time Mater/Tullamore intern and part-time St Vincent’s full back, opens up about club life
How did you get involved with the club?
Studying medicine in UCD, I heard about St Vincent’s through classmates. Following an ACL repair and rehab, I joined in 2017 with the intention of just training, not thinking I’d make the grade to get game-time. Soon after, I got invited into the match day squads and things went from there.
What is your favourite Vincent’s memory?
My debut probably stands out the most: A hard-fought 2-1 away win at Fairview on a rainy Saturday in March. I was cramping for almost the whole of the second half, but loved every minute and managed to stick a leg on a last-minute goal-line clearance to cap it off.
Aidan McGrath, whether it’s directed at referees or team-mates. We’ll put it down to the fact that his Northern drawl is always heard loudest.
Andrew Delaney, as he single-handedly brings up the standard and intensity of everything he is involved in.
Fionn Nally — playing left-back and supporting your winger is tough enough without him constantly striding away from you like a young Gareth Bale.
Best friends at the club?
The two Lukes, Harrington and Sheeran Purcell, Rob Trueick and Fionn Nally, all UCD Class of 2017 graduates.
Balancing life as an intern with club commitments?
It’s been much smoother than anticipated. Friday night/Saturday morning football suits perfectly. I’m in Tullamore for three months at present, and can still make matches. We try to swap out of calls for games and training. It is accepted that work may occasionally get in the way, something that not many other clubs can offer young doctors.
Where do you see yourself in three years?
Probably back in Ireland after a stint working abroad, hopefully keeping the left full-back position occupied and likely in competition with a new younger player for the spot. Dean Huggard essentially, but without over 200 appearances!
Advice for medical students?
Extra-curriculars are the best way to de-stress after a week of college or work. St Vincent’s Hospital FC offers a welcoming environment and a good competitive standard of football. Get involved, meet new people and stay active. Work-life balance is everything!
Favourite place for a pint?
Kiely’s, Donnybrook, with The Back Page, Phibsboro, a close second.