U15 Hurler 1998's

Cuala progressed to the top of the table with a workman-like win over Whitehall-Colmcilles in windy and wet conditions at Santry.

From the off, the Cuala attitude was positive and the passion was palpable. The game plan was to attack the Whitehall-Colmcille team from the first whistle, and not to concede goals. With a gale blowing into their faces, the Cuala team as usual, chose to face the elements in the first half. As the match started the rain swept in. The gale was so strong, the Dalkey management reckoned anything under ten points would be redeemable at half time.

Cuala dropped Dan Johnson back as an extra marker on the ‘Cilles full forward Dylan Curtis (6ft 4 with loads of hurling). Between Johnson and Coronella he was kept quiet and never even got a sniff at a shot on goal. Whitehall took a few long range points from frees but Cuala kept in touch with 2 pts (1 free) from sharp-shooter Emmet Murphy at full forward and a point from, ever-accurate, Stevie McDonnell. Thomas McCarthy fired in a screamer that hit the cross bar from 25 yards. Diarmait Mass and Mark O’Treasaigh continued their fine run of form for the Dalkeymen and showed real class throughout. The full back line was as tight as a drum, and they were the real heroes in this game, in particular Tiarnan Lane who covered across and cleared at every sign of danger. Cuala were only 0-5 to 0-3 down at half time with the prospect of a gale behind them in the second half.

In the second half the Santrymen played an extra sweeper at centre back. Cuala continued to double up on the danger-man up front. An early point from play from Murphy and a well-taken goal from Mahoney put Cuala back in the ascendency and it looked as if they might pull away. But the Whitehall centre-back Sean Gray had other ideas. He started to work hard in the centre, to attack down the centre and began to dominate. McDonnell took his second wonder score from play to settle the nerves. O’Drisceoil hit the cross-bar from a ‘65 and the re-bound forced a great save from the keeper that kept Whitehall in the game. O’Floinn, Myers and Quinn were sprung at half-time and made a real impact, particularly O’Floinn who got through a lot of work. Cuala fell into trap of sending long high ball down the middle and Whitehall’s defenders were now getting easy possession.

With 10 minutes to go the ref advised that Cuala were 2 up. But all the play was now with Whitehall. They pressed hard and were awarded two 21’ frees close to the death. DeFelice handed out his six goalie hurls and both shots were saved. The ref blew it up and Cuala ran out winners on a score-line of 2-5 to 0-9.

Overall, a great, even heroic, first half performance from this Cuala ‘band-of- brothers’. They had a mediocre second half where the team lost shape and composure and lost the game plan by relying on long, high balls down the middle – that suited the home team !

Footnote: With three matches gone, Cuala have two wins and jump to joint top of Division 1. The red-and-whites now face St. Brigids at home on Sunday.  Brigids won the all-Ireland hurling Féile last year, and have just come off an away win against Boden, so it will be a great marker for Cuala to see where they stand.

Next up: St. Brigids at home on Sunday 21th April, 12.00am, Hyde Rd. Dalkey.

Team: Ryan De Felice, Rory McMahon , Brian Coronella, Tiarnan Lane, James Murphy, Fionn O’Drisceoil, Diarmait Maas, Jack Hartnett, Thomas McCarthy, Mark O’Treasaigh, Joe Mahony (1-0), Michael Wylde, Stephen McDonnell (0-2) Emmet Murphy (1-2, 2 frees), Danial Johnson (0-1).

Substitutes:  Half-time, Fionn Myers for Jack Hartnett, Cormac Quinn for Thomas McCarthy, Cathal O’Floinn for Joe Mahony.