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After trading blows throughout the opening exchanges, the hosts took the lead just before the interval, when a low drive evaded unsighted Vincent’s goalkeeper Seán Keane. The visitors increased the pressure after half-time and had a strong penalty shout when Cian Ward was felled in the area, while Rory Durand spurned the best opportunity, heading straight at the Dundrum keeper from Peter Kelly’s cross. However, the home side soon doubled their advantage before adding a third late on after a swift break to cap a frustrating afternoon for a depleted Vincent’s team.
Seán Keane, Peter McAnena, Kieran Keane, Colm Cosgrove, Marty Hayes, Andy Delany, Rory Durand, Peter Kelly, Cian Ward, Eddy Wrynn, Cionn Nally.
Adjusting to the step-up
Vincent’s have chopped and changed divisions with great regularity over recent seasons — Saturday Premier in 2015/16 (finishing 4th); Major 1C in 2016/17 (finishing 11th); Major 1D in 2017/18 (winning the title); before being promoted two divisions to Major 1B this campaign.
Over the year, the club has done battle with multiple sides on numerous occasions, as the Leinster Senior League merry-go-round continues to turn. However, the division we currently find ourselves in is without doubt a step-up in quality. Week-in, week-out, sides are well-drilled, compact without the ball, assured in possession and composed in front of goal.
Thus far, there has been little to separate sides in games: Vincent’s routed Inchicore Athletic 4-0 away from home in our second outing this season, before Inchicore went on to beat Kilnamanagh 2-0. The latter side then thrashed Dundrum 4-1 on the road, who then put us to the sword in our most recent game. On the evidence of games played to date, this league is finely poised and evenly balanced, and the team that performs most consistently may prove to have the most success.
Consistency has often eluded Vincent’s over the years. Squad rotation is often branded as a foreign and modern affliction in the professional game, despite its best exponent in the Premier League era eventually finishing with 13 league titles. Alex Ferguson was the master of changing his Manchester United line-up regularly to target specific blocks of games, most famously cultivating the brilliance of the deadly quartet of Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the 1999 treble-winning season.
Ferguson’s selections were carefully planned, often months in advance — for example, Dimitar Berbatov (Premier League Golden Boot winner) and Nani (club Player of the Year) enjoyed stellar seasons in 2010/11 as United won the title, yet neither featured in Ferguson’s first-choice team for the Champions League final defeat to Barcelona. At the very far end of the same spectrum, the constant ‘squad rotation’ employed by Vincent’s is predicated by the day jobs of the majority of our players. It makes establishing on-pitch relationships difficult, particularly when compared with some local clubs in the Leinster Senior League, whose players have played together since schoolboy teams.
To overcome these challenges, the club has committed to playing a progressive style of football, with a playing philosophy based upon passing football, working hard to regain possession and discipline. To borrow an old Brendan Rodgers-ism, it’s sometimes a case of ‘building the plane while flying it’. But the signs are there every week in training that we are coming closer to clicking all the time. Despite having just one league win to our name so far this season, there are five other sides with a similar or lesser points tally at this early stage in the season, while only the league’s top three have outscored us to date. So plenty of cause for optimism.
Vincent’s hosted Beggsboro FC at St Benildus on Friday, 5 October in their subsequent outing. The score was 1-1.
Training and sponsorship
Training continues at St Kilian’s German/Irish School in Clonskeagh every Wednesday, with new players always welcome. Training kicks-off on the Kilian’s hockey surface at 20:15, before moving onto the 4G astroturf at 21:00. Numbers have been strong in recent weeks — long may it continue deep into the winter months!
The club is on the lookout for a title sponsor to take over from Kiely’s, which recently closed its fabled Donnybrook doors. We are actively encouraging any groups or individuals interested in the opportunity to get in touch.
Follow the St Vincent’s Hospital FC Facebook page, check out our new Instagram account (@vinnies_fc) or get in contact via email: email@example.com.