CUALA 3-21 SLAUGHTNEIL (Derry) 2-11
Cuala cruised into the All-Ireland Club when outclassing Derry’s Slaughtneil in Saturday’s semi-final at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh.
The Dalkey men did the damage in the opening half and led by 11 points at the interval.
A minute into the second half Seán Treacy with a superb finish angled low to the net made the gap 14 points.
Cuala did slacken off as the half progressed and credit to Slaughtneil they took full advantage.
Ger Bradley grabbed a goal for the Derry men in the 32nd minute after getting away with lifting the sliotar clean off the ground with his hand.
But it was going to make little difference at this stage – they were on their way to Croker on St Patrick’s Day to face Clare’s Ballyea.
The Ulster champions struck for their second goal five minutes from time when Cuala keeper Seán Brennan pulled down a shot going over the crossbar only for Shane McGuigan to pounce and volley the sliotar first time to the net.
Cuala dominated the opening half and at the interval enjoyed a commanding 1-13 to 0-5 advantage.
Slaughtneil took early encouragement from points form Chrissy McKaigue and Brendan Rogers either side of a David Treacy free to lead 0-2 to 0-1 inside five minutes.
But then the Dalkey men took over.
Mattie Kenny’s side scored 1-6 without reply over the next 12 minutes to lead 1-7 to 0-2 on their way to a half-time lead of 11 points.
Mark Schutte began the flurry of Cuala scores with a fine point from a tight angle.
David Treacy followed up with two converted frees before Colm Cronin made it 0-5 to 0-2 by the tenth minute.
Two minutes later Con O’Callghan hit his seventh goal of the provincial and All-Ireland Series with a stunning strike to the top corner of the net.
David Treacy tagged on two more frees and Cuala began to move well clear.
What few attacks Slaughtneil had were dealt with well by the Cuala defence with Seán Moran in particular hurling a lot of ball.
Chrissy McKaigue broke Cuala’s chain of scores with his second point of the contest but David Treacy from long range, after being picked out by Moran, and Jake Malone, following good work by David Treacy, replied before Colm Sheanon made it 1-10 to 0-3 after 22 minutes.
Cuala closed out the half on top with David Treacy putting over a 30-metre free and Con O’Callaghan engineering two points form play, one of either side, to lead by 11 points at the break.