AFL10: Trinity Gaels 1-15 : Cuala 2-13 Saturday 25th March
In the 2016 league campaign, there was very little between these two teams when they met in Hyde Park. On that occasion, the home advantage paid off as Cuala came out on top by just 2 points, in a high scoring game. So, expectations that this years away fixture was going to be an equally challenging and tight affair were well founded. And that is exactly how it unfolded. It was the first game of the 2017 season for both sides and fair to say both sides were targeting to get off to a winning start. Throw in was at 4.00 pm and pitch and weather conditions were perfect – spring sunshine and no breeze.
Gaels got the opening score with a point but Cuala were quick to respond as Luke Kelly slotted over our first score of the match and the new season. For the next 20 minutes the home side had a purple patch scoring a goal and 4 points (one of these a scrambled effort that looked to be the wrong side of the upright) with Cuala just managing 1 point over the period from the boot of Brian Sexton. We were playing well but not getting the scores and a couple of lively minors on the Gaels side were causing us some problems and being awarded a few soft scorable frees courtesy of an overly officious referee. With 23 minutes gone we were 6 down, 1-5 : 0-2. But from there to half-time whistle we got the scoreboard ticking. Frank Spellman knocked over the first and our attacking wing back JP Comer quickly added another. Gaels got one back but Cuala then notched up the final three scores before the break – Donal Brady with a neat point before Luke Kelly ended a good move with a shot in the net and Kevin Wylde rounded it off with a point. A tremendous comeback to level the scores at 1-06 each.
The second half was a really tight affair with the lead swinging back and forth right to the end. A Luke Kelly point from a free edged us ahead early in the half but Gaels notched up two to regain the advantage. Keith Keogh popped one over from close range and Luke added another couple from frees (the officious ref was now our friend) to offset a brace of points from Gaels and we were level pegging at 1-10. Shane Kelly edged us ahead with a point on the run but again they replied. Then came the score of the match as Cuala played a well worked passing move to find Luke in a bit of space who hit a spectacular shot to the back of the net (no truth he was going for a point!). This put us 3 up on 2-11: 1-11 and the first bit of daylight. But the opposition response was determined and they hit us for 4 points without reply to edge ahead again. Kevin Wylde with his second point of the day had the sides level for the 8th time with just minutes remaining. The way the game had ebbed and flowed it was hard to call. But it was the Cuala lads who showed most determination and lifted the effort. The reward was one more point from the boot of our talisman Luke Kelly. That’s all it needed. We had the 1 point advantage when the ref blew the final whistle. Joy and relief all round as 2 valuable league points were secured in a pulsating game. Final Score – Trinity Gaels 1-15 : Cuala 2-13.
A tremendous team effort over the 60 minutes and 8 players getting on the scoresheet. It would have been very disappointing match to lose or draw as we played the better attacking football and were the wrong side of a dubious first half score that could have made a difference. But in the end, it didn’t and we look forward to a home match against St Marks next Sunday in Hyde park at 3pm.
- Worthy mention 1 – Ben’s great block to prevent a goal. He’s back!
- Worthy mention 2- the ‘international’ representation on the Cuala team with Daniel Moritz from Germany and USA native Dylan Walsh making impressive debuts for the club. Welcome aboard lads!
Team: Brian O’Ruairc, Andy Donohue, Jack Butler, Ben Fennell, Damian Hayes, James McCarthy, JP Comer (0-1), Brian Sexton (0-1), Shane Kelly (0-1), Frank Spellman (0-1), Luke Kelly (2-5), Daniel Moritz, Donal Brady (0-1), Liam McDermott, Kevin Wylde (0-2). Subs Keith Keogh (0-1) (Daniel Moritz), Dylan Walsh (Liam McDermott)
Manager: Kevin Dowling