St Vincent's carved out a gritty win to claim the AIB All-Ireland senior club football title for the first time since 1976.

At Croke Park this afternoon, the Marino club became the first Dublin winners of the Andy Merrigan Cup since Kilmacud Crokes in 1995.

Playing a captain's role, Tomas Quinn landed 0-07 and he also set up Diarmuid Connolly's 21st-minute goal as Vincent's led 1-07 to 0-04 at half-time.

2003 champions Nemo launched a spirited fight back – led by James Masters (0-06) – but time just ran out on them.

Willed on by a large showing of white and blue in the 31,246-strong crowd, Vincent's ended their All-Ireland famine in their first final appearance since they lost the 1985 decider to Castleisland Desmonds.

Afterwards, their manager Mickey Whelan dedicated the win to Peter Kelly, the father of Vincent's wing back Pat, who died just hours before the game.

Munster kingpins Nemo, who were bidding for a record eighth All-Ireland title, got off to a sluggish start with the usually reliable James Masters missing a first-minute free to the left and wide.

Having knocked out reigning champions Crossmaglen in the semi-finals, Vincent's bounded into this game with plenty of confidence and they were 0-04 to 0-00 up within 14 minutes.

Diarmuid Connolly shipped a heavy tackle from Martin Cronin, who earned the Nemo centre-back a yellow card, and Tomas Quinn popped over the resulting free to open the scoring.

Cronin was left behind in the fifth-minute when the speedy Tiernan Diamond raced into space and slotted Vincent's second point.

Then a horrible clash of heads between Nemo's Peter Morgan and Vincent's midfielder Hugh Coughlan resulted in Morgan being replaced by David Niblock.

Play was halted for a couple of minutes but, after an excellent run and point from Connolly, a recovered Coughlan found the target with a booming shot off his right.

Nemo finally got their attack going in the 14th-minute but Paul Kerrigan's goal-bound shot, teed up for him by a Masters ball over the top, was smothered away by Vincent's goalkeeper Michael Savage.

The Cork side opened their account three minutes later when the hard-working Dylan Mehigan fisted over from the right.

However, Vincent's continued to have the better of the exchanges with Quinn landing a close range free and after Kerrigan replied with a placed ball at the other end, the Dubliners created their goal.

Skipper Quinn was instrumental in it as he palmed a high ball down for Connolly to gobble it up, speed into space and ram a low shot past Nemo goalkeeper Brian Morgan.

Masters and Quinn, who scored 0-23 and 3-15 respectively in their provincial and All-Ireland games before today's final, then took centre stage as they hit point after point in the lead-up to half-time.

Following Connolly's goal, Nemo responded strongly with Masters landing a skyscraper of a point after Mehigan had an effort blocked down.

Quinn was narrowly wide with a sideline ball but he redeemed himself by winning and pointing a free near the end-line for a 1-06 to 0-03 score-line.

Into injury-time, Masters claimed possession wide out on the right and swung over a simply inspirational score.

Ideally for the Cork outfit, that point would have brought the curtains down on the first half but there was still time for Quinn to point his fourth free after a foul on Michael O'Shea.

Obviously fired up by manager Ephie Fitzgerald's interval team talk, Nemo certainly upped the ante for the second period.

In the first-minute, David Kearney managed to fist over after a good pass from Kerrigan to cut the gap to five points.

Territorially, Nemo began to make sizable gains and the scoring chances duly came, although Kerrigan fisted wide and Masters dropped two shots short and into the arms of net minder Savage, who was solid throughout.

Vincent's were also struggling to recapture the flair they played with in the first 30 minutes. Edging closer to the goal, Brian Maloney took the wrong option when going for a point and his attempt was wide of the mark.

Quinn seemed to settle his side with a great point after linking up with Diamond, but Nemo heaped pressure on the capital men by hitting five points in a row.

Alan Cronin notched two of them, Kerrigan pointed a free and the increasingly influential Masters set up a punched point for Mehigan and chipped over a free of his own.

The Rangers' hard work had whittled the Leinster champions' lead down to a single point - 1-08 to 0-10 - and the momentum was suddenly with them, with just over ten minutes remaining.

Who else but 'Mossy' to steady the Vincent's ship? He slammed over a much-needed point as he turned his man and pointed from the right wing.

Nemo 'keeper Brian Morgan then had to save at the feet of Diamond as space began to open up at both ends of the field.

There was some great battling play from the Leesiders in the 52nd-minute when Mehigan swooped near the end-line to keep the ball in play and Masters shrugged off two defenders to fire over off his left.

Connolly had a poor attempt at a free, 30 metres out, but a timely foul allowed Quinn a shot from closer to the goal and he duly obliged to make it a two-point game again.

In a thrilling finish, Connolly was successful with a close-in free to put a goal between the sides and while Masters picked off two late frees, the final whistle came soon after as Vincent's had their long-awaited day in the sun.

Click here for after match reactions

ST. VINCENT'S: M Savage; P Conlon, E Brady, H Gill; T Doyle, G Brennan, P Kelly; H Coughlan, M O'Shea; K Golden, T Diamond, D Connolly; B Maloney, P Gilroy, T Quinn.

Subs used: R Trainor for Gilroy (43 mins), C Brady for Coughlan (48), R Fallon for Gill (58), W Lowry for Golden (60).

NEMO RANGERS: B Morgan; N Geary, D Kavanagh, D Breen; B O'Regan, M Cronin, G O'Shea; P Morgan, M McCarthy; R Kenny, D Mehigan, A Cronin; D Kearney, J Masters, P Kerrigan.

Subs used: S O'Brien for Kenny (29 mins), C O'Brien for O'Shea, D Niblock for P Morgan (both half-time), B O'Driscoll for A Cronin (52).

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)


St Vincent's: Tomas Quinn 0-07 (0-05f), Diarmuid Connolly 1-02, Tiernan Diamond, Hugh Coughlan 0-01 each

Nemo Rangers: James Masters 0-06 (0-03f), Dylan Mehigan, Paul Kerrigan (0-02f), Alan Cronin 0-02 each, David Kearney 0-01 each