St Vincent’s 0-12 Ballymun Kickhams 0-11 

Albert Martin emerged as the unlikely hero with the winning point to secure St Vincent’s a Dublin SFC final place, leaving them as strong favourites for a third title in four seasons.

The substitute blasted the 57th-minute point that separated the two heavyweights of the capital’s club scene at Parnell Park having been level on nine occasions over the hour.

But while Martin ultimately decided the contest, it was Dublin star Diarmuid Connolly that once again provided the game’s inspirational moments.

The back-to-back All-Ireland medallist scored four points, all of which were beauties from open play.

Tomas Quinn scored three points for Vins, but left the field after a red card dismissal five minutes from time, following two rapid-fire bookings.

Ballymun also finished with 14 men after losing Jason Whelan to a red card late in the first half.

Vins’ reward is a final clash with Castleknock or St Jude’s, who meet in the second semi-final tomorrow evening, on Saturday week.

A huge crowd that almost packed out Parnell Park turned up in anticipation of an epic contest between two star-studded teams in a repeat of the 2013 finals.

Connolly hinted at a potentially explosive evening when he opened the scoring when a wonderful point from a tight angle off his left foot.

But there was just three more points scored from open play between the two teams in the first half and they reached the interval deadlocked at 0-05 apiece.

It was tight and tense and while many expected Connolly and Dublin colleague Philly McMahon to reprise what’s been a running battle at club level, John Small actually picked up the Vins attacker.

It was another great duel though and Connolly sported a ripped jersey as early as the 15th minute, indicating the sort of close attention he would get all evening.

Connolly was also on the end of the high tackle that resulted in a second yellow card for Whelan, the ex-county man, after just 24 minutes, reducing Ballymun to 14.

They’d already lost Davy Byrne, another former Dublin player, to a black card and relied on Dean Rock’s inspiration up front with four first-half points from the championship top scorer.

As for Vins, twice All-Ireland champions since 2008, they had scorers in Quinn, Ruairi Trainor and ex-Mayo forward Enda Varley.

Ballymun surged two clear in the third quarter but Quinn, who took a number of big hits on the evening, boomed a beauty to help tie it up again at 0-08 to 0-08 after 41 minutes.

They were level again at 0-10 and then 0-11 apiece, the ninth time in the game the sides were level, though Quinn had just left the stage, picking up back-to-back bookings in the 54th and 55th minutes.

Martin, who has risen from the club’s intermediate ranks, came off the bench to provide the crucial moment three minutes from time, a raking point that secured a fourth final place on the trot.

St Vincent’s: M Savage; C Wilson, J Curley, M Concarr; B Egan, G Brennan (0-01), Cameron Diamond; D Murphy, S Carthy; G Burke, D Connolly (0-04), Cormac Diamond; R Trainor (0-01), E Varley (0-02, 0-01f), T Quinn (0-03, 0-02f).

Subs: J Feeney for Burke, A Martin (0-01) for Murphy, A Baxter for Varley, K Golden for Cormac Diamond, J McCusker for Trainor.

Ballymun Kickhams: S Currie; K Connolly, E Dolan, P McMahon; D Byrne, J Small, J Burke (0-01); A Elliot, J McCarty; D Rock (0-08, 0-06f, 0-01 65), J Whelan, K Leahy; P Small, T Furman (0-02), A Hubbard.

Subs: L O’Donovan for Byrne BC, D Keating for O’Donovan, E Reilly for Leahy, L Young for Connolly.

Referee: B Tiernan (O’Dwyer’s).