However, horrendous conditions ensured that the game never materialised into an entertaining spectacle for the neutrals, with high winds creating a one-sided affair, in that the game almost exclusively took place on one flank of the pitch. The gale was so strong that, at one stage, a goalpost from the adjacent pitch was blown into the action, while the linesman on Vincent’s’ left side barely touched his flag in the second half, with the ball permanently residing on the opposite wing. It meant that both sets of wide players endured a busy half apiece.
Dunboyne, in search of their first victory of the campaign, settled quickly and had the better of the early exchanges, though it was Fionn Nally who had the first opportunity of the game, side-footing a difficult chance wide from 12 yards out. Vincent’s settled from then on, with McGrath a real threat when breaking from an inside-left position. Meanwhile, Fionn Lynch excelled at number nine, demonstrating excellent all-round centre-forward play in the testing conditions.
Inevitably, the only goal of the game came from the flank, where the weather had funnelled all the action. Darren McMahon broke forward from left-back and found McGrath, who clinically fired the hosts in front after cutting inside.
Vincent’s were solid from then until the break, controlling the game by winning the midfield battle, despite losing Rory Durand soon after the opener. The change forced a reshuffle — the versatile Andy Delany moved into midfield from the heart of the defence, Kieran Keane slotted in at centre-back and Peter McAnena took up his customary position at right-back. It mattered little, as Dunboyne barely created an opening until the interval.
The visitors did step up their intentions after the break, forcing numerous free kicks from promising positions around the penalty area. However, their delivery radar was misaligned all night, meaning Seán Keane between the Vincent’s sticks was rarely troubled. He was eventually called into action as the game moved into the final quarter, twice palming aside long-range efforts that had swirled in the breeze. McMahon was then well-positioned to hack an in-swinging corner off the line, before making an excellent goal-saving tackle when covering across from left back.
At the other end, McGrath could have made the points safe when he was first denied by the feet of the goalkeeper and fired the rebound over the bar. John Cosgrave, imperious in the middle with Peter Kelly, also had an opportunity to extend the advantage, but narrowly missed the target after working the ball neatly onto his weaker right foot.
As the wind continued to howl, both teams introduced fresh legs in pursuit of their respective goals, but ultimately, neither side were able to produce their best in the presence of the swirling crosswinds.
Starting XI (substitutions): Seán Keane, Kieran Keane, Andy Delany, Dan Hales (Mark Dwyer), Darren McMahon (David Kennedy); Peter Kelly (c), Rory Durand (Peter McAnena), John Cosgrave; Fionn Nally (Gavin Kane), Fionn Lynch (Brian Kelly), and Aidan McGrath.
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