Rathnew stun St Vincent’s with majestic performance
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.