Cuala 1-12 St Maurs 1-13
AFL Division 9 came to a conclusion on Sunday at 3 o clock with Cuala facing St Maurs in their penultimate match. After a heavy away defeat at the hands of Ballyboughal in their previous fixture, Cuala were determined to bounce back with a strong performance against the lowly placed St Maurs.
It was evident from the outset that this would be an evenly matched contest with both teams exchanging scores early on. The midfield partnership of Peter Gahan and Conor Gallagher worked tirelessly in midfield winning possession from the accurate kicking of stand in goalkeeper Stephen Butler. Notable defensive displays by the Ballybrack duo of Ben Fennell and Damien Hayes kept the St Maurs attack at bay for much of the first half. In attack, Cuala once again played to their strengths and glided through the St Maurs defence with their trade mark intricate hand passing system. A rasping effort from Conor Gallagher proved too strong for the St Maurs keeper and following points from Anto Higgins, Alan McCarthy and Owen Hackett, Cuala went in at the break a point to the good.
A slow start to the second half from the Cuala men saw St Maurs take the lead with an early point and a fisted goal. As Cuala found themselves 5 points down, Barry Sheanon, Peter Smith, and Cillian Sullivan were all introduced to re-energise the Cuala attack. Cillian Sullivan, making his first appearance of the season, floated over three left footed points from acute angles to keep Cuala in the game with 5 minutes remaining. In the final minutes it was clear that a goal was required, and in the dying minutes it looked as if it had arrived. Alan McCarthy fired a shot low and hard that looked destined for the bottom right hand corner only to see it miraculously tipped away by the St Maurs keeper. Cuala added a point in the final seconds of the game however St Maurs hung on to claim a vital away win.
Cualas third team can be very proud of the progress that has been made this season. Famous victories in the championship over Parnells and Starlights, as well as impressive results in the league against strong opposition have laid a solid foundation for next season. Consistent numbers in attendance at training has led to the successful implementation of a footballing strategy that has resulted in substantial progress being made on last seasons league campaign. The players would like to thank Johnny, Paddy, John, and Mikey for all their help throughout the season. A special word of thanks to Hooley, who due to injury was confined to a coaching role. The commitment he has shown since his appointment has had a lasting impact on the squad and created a great atmosphere amongst the players. With an array of young talent playing their first season in adult football, and a determination to succeed, the future is bright for the for the AFL9 squad.