Cuala brought an end to the football league season with a fine victory over Castleknock and one of their best performances of the year. In a season bedevilled by injury and made hard by sticking to small panels in order to field three teams and keep more players involved, this was a sign of what might have been.
Bright sunshine gave a late summer feel to the game but a swirling breeze made it tricky for both sides to find their range in the first half. Cuala were on top in the middle but putting chances wide and Castleknock had edged into a three point lead on 15 minutes before Jack Hartnett pointed from a free after good work down the left from Fionn O’ Drisceoil and Fergus O’Rourke. Then a cross field ball from Fergus found Ryan de Filice on the edge of the square and a firm punch saw the green flag raised.
The home side sought to make more of the breeze but Ross Broderick in the Cuala goal has been a star all year and was proving cat like in getting to everything that made it through the solid full back line of Tiernan Dunne, David O’Driscoll and Oisín Marray. They restricted Castleknock to another 2 points but one more for Fergus after a driving run from Rory McMahon and a neat interchange of passes with James Murphy had the sides level at the break.
Oisín was forced to the side with a hand injury after fielding one high ball but Conor newman shrugged off a stiff knee to manfully plug the gap.
Cuala were holding posession well and moving the ball quickly through Jack and Thomas McCarthy who were putting in great hits on lads bigger than them before spraying the ball around. The second half started with a flurry of well deserved points for Cuala, Fergus hitting three and Jack popping one after a big run and smart pass from James Murphy.
James and Mark were winning ball with their backs to goal and using the ball well to bring in the runners. They were unlucky not to make a mark on the scoreboard but were doing a fine job, as was Ruari Frankling whose pace was causing real headaches for the home defence.
Emmet Murphy stepped back to a half back role for the game and his reading of the ball had him well on top of his man. Rory in the centre and Fionn on the left had freedom to move forward and it was Fionn playing the ball into Mark and feeding Diarmait Maas that set up the second goal. Castleknock picked up three points in between but a low shot from Ryan and then a run from the left and a driven shot from Fergus put the lads well in control on 4-06 to 0-8.
Castleknock picked up their one three pointer from a Penaltyand and raised the flag one last time before the end but the game finished with Thomas driving Cuala on the attack and highlighting a really enjoyable football performance.
We needed Kilmacud to beat Judes to edge into a play off for promotion back to Division One but that was not to be so we will stay at this level for next year but it was a great performance to bring into the winter and full credit to all the lads for really putting it in at training in the week and keeping the momentum of this great weekend for the club going at full speed ahead.
Cuala: R Broderick, T Dunne, D.O’Driscoll, O. Marray (C.Newman 25mins) E Murphy, R McMahon(1 assist), F.O’Drisceoil(2 assists), J Hartnett(0-02 / 2 assists), T McCarthy(1 assist), F.O’Rourke(1-04/ 2 assists), R. Frankling, D.Maas(1-0), J Murphy(2 assists), M.Tracey(3 assists), R. DeFilice (2-0 / 2 assists).