In atrocious weather conditions and with light failing rapidly, Cuala’s U14 Hurlers came back from what looked like certain defeat to share the spoils against St. Oliver Plunkett Eoghan Ruadh on Thursday 16th August in Martin Savage Park. The result leaves Cuala third in the League with 4 games to play.

U14 LEAGUE DIV 2 – Thursday 16th August 2012, Navan Road.

CUALA 2 -1; ST. OLIVER PLUNKETTS EOGHAN RUADH 1 – 7

The conditions didn’t suit Cuala at all with long grass on the flanks of the pitch and a tropical storm making hurling almost impossible. The bigger Plunketts team started brightly however, and within a minute had registered a point.  After a nervous start, Cuala settled and on 8 minutes, Joe Mahony caught a long delivery from James Murphy who was very solid throughout the game, turned and from fully 30m, struck a shot to knock the rain off the Plunketts net. The Navan Road side responded with two points from distance but when man-of-the-match Mark ‘Bolt’ O’Treasaigh hit a second wonderful goal, it looked ominous for the Northsiders. Another fine effort from Big Joe out on the right wing left Cuala 7 to 3 to the good with a quarter of the game gone. However, the two goals had the effect of waking up the big Dublin no.9. He began to grow in confidence and produced a great solo performance for the ‘maroons’! He started to win ball around the middle and brushed off tackle after tackle to break through the cover and head for goal. In fact he would have bagged two goals were it not for the trio in the Cuala full-back line, Rory McMahon, Brian Coronella and the magnificent Lorcan McGrath who between them, snuffed out any smell of a goal. But the constant pressure was beginning to tell. Cuala were not fighting hard enough for the ‘dirty ball’ out field and were happy to come in at the interval with a score-line of 2.1 to 1.2 – Cuala up by two.

Cualaman O’Treasaigh, who was having a great game, was beginning to dominate in the forwards and was winning ball and cutting through the Plunketts defense.  He clipped over another point within 2 minutes of the re-start. But the Northsiders were having none of it. Their mid-field pairing took control and Cuala were under constant pressure to feed their forwards. The pressure eventually told and the key goal arrived on 41 minutes. Another long run from the big no.9 broke the defense and, despite the best efforts of Ryan deFelice in nets who had made a string of high class saves up to that point, the goal was registered. The game was level but Plunketts were now in the ascendancy and had the benefit of the gale! But the red-and-whites are nothing if not resilient. They tightened  up all over the field and began to play like their lives depended on it. Plunketts could only muster two more points from the no.9. O’Treasaigh and Mickey Wylde in the half-forward line were living on scraps but with the game closing out and nightfall settling in, they took on the ‘maroon’ defense one more time. With 8 minutes left O’Treasaigh won a precious ball and was up-ended again. The ever-accurate Emmett Murphy did the business. One in it and Cuala sensed they might snatch a result! Wylde and James Murphy combined to release O’Treasaigh with seconds left in the game. Again he manned-up to the challenge and tried to get through the cover. Again he was taken down with the Plunketts defense slamming the door shut. 25m out in front of goal, Emmett Murphy stepped up and looked to the line….he took his point and Cuala ‘got out of jail’ with a point.  The game was drawn 2.4 to 1.7. Cuala needed torches to find their way back to the dressing-room to dry off!

Footnote: Cuala are now placed third in the League on 13 points with Lucan ahead of them on 16 and Fingallians on top with 18. Two go up. However, Cuala have Lucan to play away on 8th September. That will be the crucial one! They finish their campaign with a home match to Plunketts on 22nd September, an away game to Judes on 6th October and a home match to finish against Sylvesters on 20th October. All matches will now be played on Saturdays, throw-in 15.30.

Next up: Lucan Sarsfields, U14 Hurling League on Saturday 8th September 3.30pm away in 12th Lock – a must-win game!

Team: Ryan De Felice, Rory McMahon, Brian Coronella, Lorcan McGrath, James Murphy, Fionn O’Drisceoil, Tiarnan Lane, Diarmait Maas, Oisin Marray, Stephen McDonnell, Joseph Mahony (1.1), Michael Wylde, Conor Newman, Mark O’Treasaigh (1.1), Emmet Murphy (0.2 all frees) Subs: Paddy Lewis, Cian Rellis, Shane Molumphy, Fionn O’Tighernaigh.

Substitutes:  Fionn O’Tighernaigh for Conor Newman 40 mins.