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Rhode And St Vincent's Seeking Senior Club Success
Sunday, 11th December 2016: AIB Leinster Club Senior Football Championship Final; St Vincents Dublin v Rhode Offaly, OMoore Park, Portlaoise, 2.00pm.
For two clubs with an almost identical track record within their own counties, the contrasting fortunes of next Sundays finalists in the Leinster Championship is an eye-opener.
St Vincents have supplemented 28 Dublin titles with six provincial crowns and, on the back of victories in 2013 and 2014, are on the verge of joining Portlaoise at the top of the Roll of Honour.
Rhode, meanwhile, have triumphed on 27 occasions in Offaly, but after coming up short in four Leinster finals since 2006, are still waiting for an historic breakthrough.
Of course, many of the county championships won by both clubs came before the opportunity to compete in Leinster began in 1969/70, when another Offaly club, Gracefield, won the first final.
St Vincents were actually the latest club to extend Rhodes barren spell when they burst out of the traps in the 2014 final and comfortably retained their title by 1-13 to 0-6.
Previously, Rhode lost out to Moorefield 2006 and Kilmacud Crokes 2008 and 2010, with the disappointment of losing to Crokes in 08 probably lingering the longest.
But they have never given up hope and this current group of players, captained jointly by Conor McNamee and Brian Darby and inspired by the brilliance of Niall McNamee, crushed all their challengers in Offaly during 2016.
An away trip to Gusserane ORahillys appeared on paper to provide a dangerous start to their Leinster campaign, but they trashed their Wexford opponents and, subsequently, overcame Simonstown Gaels Meath and Sean OMahonys Louth.
Niall McNamee was at his brilliant best in the semi-final and they will need a huge performance from him again on Sunday. But a whole host of their starting 15 have inter-county experience, including the Darby brothers, Brian and Niall, Eoin Rigney, Alan McNamee, and the Sullivan brothers, Shane, Paraic and Anton.