Kilmacud Crokes 0-13
Kevin O’Brien reports from Parnell Park
THIS WAS FAR from a classic, but Cuala got the job done without playing overly well and that’s the hallmark of champions.
The Dalkey outfit picked up the sixth Dublin senior hurling crown in their history and a third in succession with a tight and tense three-point win over Kilmacud Crokes this evening.
Ollie Baker’s Kilmacud gave it everything but ultimately Cuala’s quality saw them over the line. Just about. When the game was on the line in the second-half Con O’Callaghan, Colm Cronin and David Treacy hit pivotal scores to see the champions home.
Following their remarkable 2016/17 campaign where they lifted county, provincial and All-Ireland honours, Cuala backed it up with another Dublin title. Darragh O’Connell’s 17th minute goal proved crucial for the victors, after they endured a slow start to the opening period.
The blustery conditions made hurling difficult but what the game lacked in quality it more than made up for in physicality and excitement.
Playing against a strong wind in the opening half, Cuala went with seven defenders as Sean Moran dropped in front of his full-back line as a sweeper.
O’Connell started at wing-back with Sean Treacy and Jake Malone paired at midfield.
In terms of match-ups, Con O’Callaghan was tracked by Bill O’Carroll, who was fortunate not to be dismissed in the first-half for a wild swing on the young Dublin star off the ball.
Cian MacGabhann picked up Colm Cronin, while at the far end John Sheanon marked Kilmacud dangerman Fergal Whitely, who dispatched 0-3 in a fine display.
Kilmacud raced into an 0-4 to 0-1 lead inside 10 minutes, but they didn’t score again until first-half stoppage-time.
In the meantime Cuala settled into the game and O’Connell’s 17th minute goal sent them into the lead for the first time. O’Callaghan was relatively quiet in the opening period but his 31st minute score left the favourites 1-5 to 0-6 ahead at the interval.
Cuala opted to stick with their sweeper system for the second period, trusting their five forwards to do enough damage at the far end.
David Treacy twice went close to raising the green flag in the third quarter. Dublin football panellist Mark Schutte won a penalty which Treacy saw saved by Eoin Dalton. Minutes later Treacy almost found the top scorer with a strike from 20m, but it sailed narrowly wide.
The 41st minute injury to Mark Schutte diluted the quality of the Cuala attack, but O’Callaghan and Cronin stepped up a vital score each to leave their side four in front.
The Crokes hit five of the next seven scores to set-up a tense finale, with Fergal Whitely and Oisin O’Rorke accurate up front.
David Treacy, who’d been replaced moments earlier, was reintroduced to hit a stoppage-time free that left Cuala two in front. Treacy then put the game to bed with a fine point from the touchline with the last puck of the game.
Scorers for Cuala: David Treacy 0-6 (0-4f, 0-1 65), Darragh O’Connell 1-0, Con O’Callaghan 0-3, Colm Cronin 0-2, Mark Schutte, Colum Sheanon 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kilmacud Crokes: Oisin O’Rorke 0-7 (0-5f), Fergal Whitely 0-3, Lorcan McMullan, Ross O’Carroll and Sean McGrath 0-1 each,
1. Sean Breanan
2. Simon Timlin
3. Cian O’Callaghan
4. Oisin Gough
6. Sean Moran
9. Darragh O’Connell
5. John Sheanon
7. Paul Schutte
8. Jake Malone
10. Sean Treacy
11. Colm Cronin
13. Colum Sheanon
12. David Treacy
14. Con O’Callaghan
15. Mark Schutte
18. Shane Stapleton for Mark Schutte, inj (41)
19. Cian Waldron for David Treacy (59)
21. Nicky Kenny for Colum Sheanon (63)
12. Treacy for Cronin (63)
1. Eoin Dalton
3. Bill O’Carroll
2. Niall Corcoran
20. Niall Carty
5. Robert Murph
8. Lorcan McMullan
9. Cian MacGabhann
6. Ross O’Carroll
7. Damien Kelly
12. Caolon Conway
11. Fergal Whitely
10. Naomhan O’Riordain
13. Oisin O’Rorke
15. Sean McGrath
14. Barry O’Rorke
17. Ronan Hayes for O’Riordain (38)
23. Dillon Mulligan for Barry O’Rorke (43)
24. Stevie O’Dwyer for McGrath (51)
21. Jim Gibbons for O’Loughlin (59)
Referee: Finbarr Gaffney (Na Fianna)
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