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Durand winner completes great escape

St Vincent’s travelled to beat Dunboyne AFC 1-0 in a winner-takes-all encounter and secure league survival. Tight and tense throughout, the team logged a superb defensive effort to ensure Rory Durand’s first-half strike was enough to claim victory.

Both teams knew exactly what was needed before kick-off. Only a Vincent’s win would secure safety. A win or draw would suffice for Dunboyne. Conditions on a sunny Thursday evening were ideal. Dunboyne AFC boasts fantastic facilities. The grass pitch was in immaculate condition. It is a real boost to play on a surface conducive to quality passing football.

Vincent’s began brightly and took control. Peter Kelly, Andy Delany and John Cosgrove established themselves as the dominant force in midfield, protecting the defensive line and feeding possession to the front three. The Dunboyne defence was strong in the air, so balls to feet and into the channels were more fruitful than anything airborne. Eddy Wrynn had his man for pace on the right flank, and flashed narrowly wide after being played in by John Cosgrove. Fionn Lynch dragged wide from the edge of the box and had another effort snuffed out from close range. Dunboyne stemmed the tide and came close to taking the lead. A close-range effort was stabbed wide, and soon after, a low drive drew a smart save from Sean Keane. Vincent’s weathered the storm, turned up the pressure, and took the lead. A direct pass isolated Rory Durand on his marker. With room in behind, Rory used a neat flick to turn his man and smash a curling effort into the back of the net. A superb goal to make it 0-1. Rory almost added a second on the stroke of half-time, but saw his effort well saved when played in down the left channel.

The second half was a less open affair. Dunboyne took greater ownership of possession in the midfield area, but found clear chances hard to come by. Colm Cosgrove and Dan Hales marshalled the central defensive area. Full-backs Darren McMahon and James Clarke defended stoutly and offered an additional attacking outlet. Dunboyne’s best effort was a 25-yard free-kick effort that was comfortably saved. Vincent’s looked dangerous on the counter, and Eddy Wrynn will wonder how he did not find the net when a rebound fell kindly only a few yards from goal. The closing stages felt like an eternity as the referee signalled one final play on a number of occasions.

0-1 was the final score when the final whistle finally came. Vincent’s showed desire in abundance and a bit more quality to ultimately come out on top.

Survival is a huge achievement for the club, and it felt every bit as sweet as winning the league last season. After 17 games, the team had 12 points, and the league table did not make for comfortable viewing. This group of players is made of tough stuff, and pulled together to win their last three games. The club finishes the campaign with their heads held high, safe in the knowledge they are more than capable of competing at the Major 1B level. The turnaround was a culmination of months of hard work by the squad. Players stuck together through a number of poor results, and eventually got rewarded. Momentum builds from moments like these, and the club is already looking forward to next season.

Vincent’s key performer

Colm Cosgrove was a rock at the heart of the Vincent’s defence. Dunboyne rarely looked like scoring, and Colm led the lockdown effort. The Derry man, and Dublin-based GP, played the David Luiz role to aplomb. He is confident in possession, able to carry out from the back, and start attacking moves from deep positions with sweeping long-range passes. Defending remains his bread and butter. Strong in the air and quick across the ground, he effectively negated Dunboyne’s number-one striking option. Colm is a fantastic talent, extremely passionate, and the club is fortunate to have him.

Matchday Squad

Sean Keane, James Clarke, Darren McMahon, Dan Hales, Colm Cosgrove, Peter Kelly, Andrew Delany, John Cosgrove, Edward Wrynn, Rory Durand, Fionn Lynch, Mark Dwyer, Gavin Kane, Paddy O’Connor.

What’s next?

The team is on a break from competitive action until August. Regular midweek astro and occasional weekend games will continue throughout the offseason. Preseason training begins in mid-July. The club is always searching for new talent, and any interested player is welcome to join.

Before all that, there is the small matter of Team Ireland’s World Medical Football Championship campaign. Vincent’s players, past and present, make up the backbone of the squad. The tournament kicks-off in Mexico in late June, and we wish them all the best.

In addition…

The club is looking to welcome new partners for the coming season, in particular home and away jersey sponsors. If interested, please get in touch to discuss. Follow the St Vincent’s Hospital FC Facebook page or get in contact via email, svuhfc@gmail.com

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