Rising Dublin football star Con O’Callaghan scored 1-3 as Cuala qualified for their second successive Leinster club SHC final with a comfortable victory over St. Mullins at Netwatch Cullen Park.
The Dublin champions never looked back after O’Callaghan, who bagged 4-3 in the quarter-final win over Borris-Kilcotton, fired home a superb 39th minute goal after St. Mullins had earlier looked capable of springing a surprise. Cuala will now have their sights set on making amends for last year’s final defeat to Oulart-The Ballagh when they face Kilkenny kingpins O’Loughlin Gaels in two weeks’ time.
The home side started brightly and, aided by John Murphy’s early goal, led by 1-2 to 0-3 at the end of the first quarter. But Cuala eventually settled and five points from free-taker David Treacy helped them to a 0-9 to 1-3 lead at the break. Indeed, their lead would have been greater but for a tally of nine wides.
O’Callaghan clipped over a point on the resumption before raising his fifth green flag in two games when volleying home after Mark Schutte had set him up. That score propelled the Dalkey outfit into a 1-11 to 1-4 lead and they eventually won by 12 points, with Colm Cronin and substitute Colum Sheanon also getting in on the scoring act.
St. Mullin’s misery was complete when midfielder Jack Kavanagh was sent off on a second yellow card at the end of normal time.
Cuala: S Brennan; S Timlin, Cian O’Callaghan, O Gough; S Moran, J Sheanon, P Schutte; J Malone (0-1), D O’Connell (0-1); C Waldron, C Cronin (0-1), D Treacy (0-7, 5f); S Treacy (0-3), M Schutte (0-2), Con O’Callaghan (1-3). Subs: S Stapleton for Timlin (28-30, blood), Colum Sheanon (0-1) for Waldron (40), Stapleton for John Sheanon (57), R Tierney for S Treacy (57), B Fitzgerald for Cronin (59), N Carty for D Treacy (59).
St Mullins: K Kehoe; G Bennett, J Doran, P Doyle; D Whelan, P Kehoe, G Coady; J Kavanagh (0-2), M Walsh; John ‘Minor’ Murphy, M Kavanagh (0-2, 1f), John Murphy (1-0); J Doyle (0-3, 1f), S Murphy, J Walsh. Subs: C Kavanagh for John ‘Minor’ Murphy (h/t), P Connors for Murphy (51).
Referee: P Burke (Kilkenny).