CUALA ROAR INTO U16 CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI-FINAL
U16 Hurling Championship Quarter-Final v O’Toole’s, Saturday 29 September 2018, Shanganagh Park.
CUALA 0-18; O’TOOLE’s 0-10
A twelve-minute scoring blitz from the twelfth to the twenty-third minute where Cuala scored 9 unanswered points, 8 from play was enough to push Cuala ‘s young lions into the semi-finals of the U16 Hurling Championship on a crisp, clear day in Shanganagh Park. Cuala started lazily and were 0:3 to 0:0 down after eight minutes. O’Tooles were first to the ball all over the field as Cuala’s engine took time to ignite. But when it did, the quality of their play was sometimes awesome. Conall O’Toole and Shane Hayes were once again Cuala’s scorers-in-chief, but the springboard for this result was once again their strength at the back. Ryan Malone was superb at centre-back, reading the play expertly and driving back the Northsiders again and again. The Dalkey full backs Comhghal O’Cofaigh-Byrne, Aaron Carey and, in particular, young Ruadhán McGiollaphadraig never put a foot wrong and the Cuala net-minder only had two balls to deal over the hour. Liam Ryan and Mickey Mahon on the flanks were dealing with O’Toole’s best forwards but came out on top on most occasions. Mahon sprinted forward on 16 mins to take a lovely point. Cuan Nugent was in his element in mid-field and enjoyed a lot of possession, Keith Rice and Tiarnán O’Braonáin tacked on their now customary points. But the inside line was being starved of possession for most of the day. Cillian Dunne stuck out a hurley to a ball going wide and deflected it over for a point, Mickey Mahon blasted for goal but his shot was saved. The teams changed ends on a score-line of 0:10 to 0:6 in favour of the reds.
O’Toole’s came out after the oranges with more fire in their bellies and closed the gap to 2 points within six minutes of the re-start. Those in red on the line were left holding their collective breaths when Eoin Ruigrok deflected a dangerous dropping ball out for a ’65. It looked ominous for the Red-and-Whites as O’Toole’s were getting a grip around mid-field, but three long-range frees from Hayes settled the nerves and another four quick-fire points from O’Toole in a five-minute spell with five to go, gave Cuala the honours on a final scoreline of 0:18 to 0:10. There’ll need to be a more hungry attitude if Cuala want to progress in this competition but, on the plus side, they’ll welcome back their full complement of players for the semis in two weeks.
Next up: Cuala, Raheny, Na Fianna and Naomh Barróg go through to the semi-finals on Saturday 13th October; opposition & pitch location to be decided.
Cuala Team: Eoin Ruigrok, Aaron Carey, Comhghal O’Cofaigh-Byrne, Ruadhán McGiollaphadraig, Liam Ryan, Ryan Malone, Mickey Mahon (0:1), Conall O’Toole (0:7, 1 free), Cuan Nugent, Tiarnán O’Braonáin (0:1), Keith Rice (0:1), Shane Hayes (0:7, 5 frees, 1 ‘65), Cillian Dunne (0:1), Daniel Conroy, Alastair McGranaghan.
Finn Breathnach for Keith Rice 55 mins, Ronan O’Muirí for Alastair McGranaghan 55 mins.