Rath­new stun St Vin­cent’s with ma­jes­tic per­for­mance

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - SPORT - DANIEL GOR­MAN Sports re­porter

WRITE them off at your peril. Rath­new GAA - The Vil­lage - were not sup­posed to stand a chance on Sun­day but what the book­mak­ers and neutrals hadn’t ac­counted for was the un­re­lent­ing Rath­new spirit.

Harry Mur­phy’s he­roes had to plan with­out Nicky Mer­nagh and couldn’t call upon a fully fit Jody Mer­ri­gan - most sides would use their ab­sences as ex­cuses. Rath­new used them as in­cen­tives.

St. Vin­cent’s were us­ing Aughrim as their lat­est stop-off on their jour­ney to Le­in­ster glory. In­stead, Joule Park proved to be the burial ground for their hopes.

Odds of 1-16 in the Dubs’ favour painted the pic­ture and gave an in­sight into the steep gra­di­ent that Rath­new were star­ing into. If you be­lieved the pun­dits, it wasn’t an up­hill bat­tle they were fac­ing; it was the abyss.

While all eyes seemed to be fo­cussed on Diar­muid Con­nolly, Mossy Quinn and Ger Bren­nan, no­body could be­lieve their eyes by the end as James Stafford, Leighton Glynn and Damien Power et al rose to the fore and slayed Go­liath.

Six­teen years on from Rath­new’s tri­umph in Le­in­ster, they sum­moned a per­for­mance that could ri­val their 2001 suc­cess as their crow­ing glory.

St. Vin­cent’s were por­trayed as some kind of un­stop­pable force - an al­most im­mor­tal bunch that were go­ing to come to Wicklow and ex­ert their dom­i­nance.

But they were just 15 men in blue and white who came up against 15 hun­gry men in red and green that were in no mood to be hos­pitable to their hosts.

It was a re­sult that sent shock­waves through­out the na­tion. But it is far from mis­sion ac­com­plished for Harry Mur­phy and his troops.

They don’t hand out medals to semi-fi­nal­ists and Rath­new will al­ready be plot­ting Moore­field’s down­fall - they’ll have the whole county be­hind them when they do so.

Rath­new’s Leighton Glynn, War­ren Ka­vanagh, Damien Power and Gra­ham Mer­ri­gan cel­e­brate the fi­nal whis­tle in Aughrim. Pic­ture: Garry O’Neill.

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