Cuala Are Champions After Commanding Display
(04 Dec 2016)
AIB Leinster Club Senior Hurling Championship Final: Cuala (Dublin) 3-19, O’Loughlin Gaels (Kilkenny) 1-16
Cuala seized control of the AIB Leinster Club SHC final in the early minutes at O’Moore Park today and captured their first provincial title in convincing fashion against O’Loughlin Gaels.
Beaten in last year’s final by Oulart-The Ballagh, the Cuala attack were far more decisive this time round and could easily have finished with half a dozen goals.
They put O’Loughlin Gaels on the back foot from the start and fully deserved their 2-8 to 0-9 interval lead. The Kilkenny champions reduced the gap to three points on a few occasions in the third quarter but Cuala, inevitably, surged clear again.
Indeed, the Dublin champions’ dominance was only reflected on the final scoreline after Mark Schutte slotted home their third goal with the last puck of the ball.
The Cuala players took on their direct opponents at every opportunity, with their pace causing havoc for O’Loughlin Gaels throughout.
Such are the commitments required from inter-county players at present that the era of the ‘dual star’ is probably over, but Dublin hurling fans would love to see Con O’Callaghan tog out for the county in 2017.
A member of Jim Gavin’s football squad, he was again in inspirational form again today and provided an assist for Colm Cronin’s well-taken sixth minute goal, which gave Cuala a 1-2 to 0-2 lead.
The O’Loughlin Gaels goal then led a charmed life as Cuala quickly threatened to raise more green flags, the upright coming to the rescue on one occasion and Stephen Murphy pulling off a couple of spectacular saves.
But Con O’Callaghan made no mistake with his sixth goal from three games in this provincial campaign in the 21st minute and finished the half with a personal tally of 1-2.
O’Loughlin Gaels had depended mostly on Mark Bergin frees up to then, but actually responded well to O’Callaghan’s strike with points from Alan Geoghegan and Martin Comerford.
David Treacy was uncharacteristically off-target a couple of times for Cuala, but still converted five first half frees. And O’Loughlin Gaels required a massive free from goalkeeper Murphy to cut their deficit to five at the break.
Immediately after the resumption, Cuala went in search of goals again, but had to settle for a point from Cian Waldron.
And for a time, they may have feared that all those spurned chances would come back to haunt them. Mark Bergin kept chipping away with frees for O’Loughlin Gaels, so Cuala required Con O’Callaghan and David Treacy to contribute from play to maintain a three point lead.
But Mattie Kenny’s men were in no mood to throw this one away. After Darragh O’Connell stretched their lead again, David Treacy sent over an inspirational sideline cut and another free and by the 56th minute they held and eight point cushion.
A late Danny Loughnane goal gave O’Loughlin Gaels a glimmer of hope, but Cuala held firm and had the final say when Schutte put another past Stephen Murphy.
Cuala: David Treacy (9f, 1sl) 0-11; Con O’Callaghan 1-4, Colm Cronin, Mark Schutte 1-1; Colm Cronin 1-0; Darragh O’Connell (1f) 0-2; Cian Waldron 0-1.
O’Loughlin Gaels: Mark Bergin (10f) 0-11; Danny Loughnane 1-0; Martin Comerford 0-2; Stephen Murphy (f), Alan Geoghegan, Mark Kelly 0-1 each.
CUALA: Sean Brennan; Oisin Gough, Cian O’Callaghan, Simon Timlin; Sean Moran, Paul Schutte, John Sheanan; Jake Malone, Darragh O’Connell; Cian Waldron, Colm Cronin, David Treacy; Sean Treacy, Mark Schutte, Con O’Callaghan.
Sub: Colum Sheanon for C Waldron.
O’LOUGHLIN GAELS: Stephen Murphy; Anthony Forristal, Andy Kearns, Eddie Kearns; Alan O’Brien, Brian Hogan, Huw Lawlor; Paddy Butler, Paddy Deegan; Alan Geoghegan, Mark Kelly, Danny Loughnane; Sammy Johnston, Mark Bergin, Martin Comerford.
Subs: Shane Mahony for A Kearns; Paddy Cantwell for P Butler; Sean Bolger for S Johnston.
Referee: Michael Murtagh (Westmeath)