Cuala claim a first county title since 1994
Goals vital in Parnell Park as Sean Treacy, twice, and Colm Cronin raised green flags
The Cuala team celebrate winning a first title in over 10 years. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Cuala 3-14 St Jude’s 0-13
A goal in either half from Sean Treacy proved pivotal as Cuala accounted for St Jude’s by 3-14 to 0-13 in their Dublin Senior Hurling Championship final at Parnell Park on Saturday afternoon.
The 10-point winning margin may have flattered the Dalkey club somewhat but there was no doubting their superiority on the day and their ability to carve out goal chances at regular intervals was in marked contrast to their opponents.
Treacy’s first goal arrived in the 19th minute as he showed a calm presence to improvise a low finish past a phalanx of defenders after a tight opening quarter in which neither team could claim superiority.
Wayne Hutchinson opened the scoring for St Jude’s with a long distance free in the 4th minute before Sean Treacy levelled matters soon after in what was an understandably nervous start from both teams.
Fionn Ó Riain Broin and David Treacy traded frees as the half progressed with Jude’s restoring parity in the 11th minute as Paul Maguire pointed after a delightful pass from Tom Devlin.
Despite Hutchinson featuring prominently initially behind his half-back line, Cuala began to punch holes down the middle with Jake Malone blocked with the goal at his mercy at the end of the first quarter.
However, St Jude’s failed to heed that warning sign with Sean Treacy netting four minutes later and his elder brother David added two scores to push Cuala five points clear by the 25th minute.
After a flat and scoreless ten minutes, St Jude’s finished the half in a positive manner as points from Joey McManus and Ronan Joyce reduced their arrears to 1-7 to 0-7 by the interval.
Despite closing the gap to just a point within two minutes of the restart following fine scores by Danny Sutcliffe and Jesse Kennedy, St Jude’s suffered further blow as Mark Schutte placed Colm Cronin in for a smartly-taken goal in the 34th minute.
Points from Rob Hardy and Devlin ensured a comeback remained a viable prospect for St Jude’s but they proved the architects of their own downfall in the 48th minute as the hugely influential Cronin intercepted a short puck-out to feed Sean Treacy for a facile finish past Martin Hartnett.
With McManus dismissed a minute later, the challenge ebbed from St Jude’s with Darragh O’Connell and Cronin adding insurance points to seal a first county title since 1994 for Cuala.
Cuala: S Brennan; R Tierney, C O’Callaghan, S Timlin; S Stapleton, O Gough, S Moran; J Malone, D O’Connell (0-3); C Waldron, C Cronin (1-2), N Kenny; D Treacy (0-7, five frees, one ‘65’, one sideline), M Schutte (0-1), S Treacy (2-1). Subs: C Sheanon for Kenny (44), B Connolly for Waldron (53), B Browne for Timlin (60).
St Jude’s: M Hartnett; E McLoughlin, G McManus, C Mangan; C Ó Riain Broin, W Hutchinson (0-1, free), R Hardy (0-1); N Mangan, P Maguire (0-1); R Joyce (0-1), D Sutcliffe (0-3), J Kennedy (0-1); J McManus (0-1), T Devlin (0-1), F Ó Riain Broin (0-3, three frees). Subs: A O’Beirne for C Ó Riain Broin (36), J Ryan for N Mangan (43), S Larkin for Devlin (47), A McGovern for F Ó Riain Broin (57).
Referee: Anton Keating (Setanta)