After months of enforced inactivity and a phased return to training, Cuala Intermediate footballers were finally let off the leash last Saturday evening as they began their all-county championship campaign. The venue was Skerries and even the biblical rainfall on the journey north and the absence of a few regulars could not dampen the spirits of the Cuala lads. It was good to be back and everyone was raring to go.
With the rain clearing just before throw in, Cuala started strongly and a few minutes in, Eoin Kennedy stormed forward from centre back to kick the game’s first score. The lively Peter Jackson tagged on another before a lapse in defence let the locals in for a goal which was very much against the run of play. Undaunted, the Cuala lads set about ensuring that the scoreboard was a more accurate reflection of the game. Tough tackling all over the pitch gave the opposition no room to operate effectively. Their sporadic attacks were mopped up effectively by the full-back line of Donal Lane, Neil Sullivan and Philip O’Donnell.
Luke Kelly and Oscar Hussey got a real grip on midfield. Wing backs, Cal Doran and Dan Bailey were marauding forward and with Colm Sheanon acting as an effective attacking fulcrum, the scores began to flow. Darragh McAdam was proving a handful for the Skerries full back and he kicked three first half points. Intelligent running from Jackson placed him to add to his tally. Conor O’Brien also got on the scoreboard and Oscar Hussey weighed in with a fine score to leave the half time score: Cuala 1-8: Skerries Harps 1-3.

One of the highlights of the first half was the way in which Cuala had dominated the kick-out battle at both ends of the pitch. Accurate kicking from Darragh O’Reilly allied to some intelligent running into space meant that we retained possession from our own restarts. Meanwhile, the hosts were pressured into going long with their kickouts and, by and large, Cuala were winning the aerial battles. This continued through the second half. Conor O’Brien got the scoreboard ticking (there actually was a scoreboard!) with an early point which was followed by a soaring 45 by Oscar Hussey. Skerries were manfully staying in the game and managed to kick a couple of scores. They carved out a few goal chances but quick covering defenders and sharp reflexes from O’Reilly between the sticks meant that the Cuala goal stayed unbreeched.
Meanwhile, strong carrying from wing-forwards, Ryan Scollard and Ruairí Sheanon was vital in allowing Cuala to transition from defence to attack. Daniel Drummond, Cillian Sheanon and Tom Magee ensured that momentum was maintained when they joined the fray. A couple of goal chances which went a-begging could have closed out the match. Instead Cuala gradually eked out a more substantial lead as O’Brien added two more points and Cal Doran pushed forward to add another.
The cherry on top of the cake arrived in the game’s final minutes. A tremendous footpass from McAdam found the onrushing O’Brien who thundered an unstoppable shot to the net. Yes! It was good to be back. Final Score Cuala 1-13; Skerries Harps 1-6
Cuala Scorers: Conor O’Brien 1-4 ; Darragh McAdam 0-3; Peter Jackson 0-2; Oscar Hussey 0-2; Eoin Kennedy 0-1; Cal Doran 0-1;