Fri 23 July (Pearse Pk): Two magnificently taken goals lit up the evening in Pearse Park, Crumlin where Cuala’s Senior Hurlers played out a draw against Crumlin in the third round of the Senior Hurling Championship . It was a night of frustration for the Dalkey outfit where two missed goal opportunities at the death severely impaired Cuala’s ability to reach the quarter-final stages. Only a win away to Craobh in the penultimate round and two points from the home game against Judes in September will see the red-and-whites progress. This was a tense, sometimes torrid affair where there was no quarter asked and none given – both teams knew they needed a win to progress. Crumlin registered two points from frees early on before Cuala opened their account with three very well taken points in quick succession from Davy Cunningham, Cian Waldren and Mark Schutte who gave a master-class in point taking throughout the game. Crumlin’s Dave Donnelly at full-forward ran onto a low ball in front of the Cuala defence and chipped over a lovely point to leave the scores level on 10 minutes. Just on the quarter-hour mark, Cuala’s David Treacy playing at full-forward, latched onto a low ball and turned for goal. With a piece of sublime skill, he manoeuvred the ball over the full-back, took it on the other side, ghosted past another defender and whipped the ball to the corner of the net without taking the ball into his hand. Both sets of supporters were applauding the skills shown by the young Dublin ace. He followed this with another well-taken point on 20 minutes to leave Cuala in control 1-6 to 0-4. However, Crumlin were not about to hand the initiative to their Dalkey counter-parts. Donnelly again took a low ball in front of his marker and with great turn of pace out ran the Cuala defence to strike for the blues’ first goal on 21 minutes. Cuala responded with another fine point from Schutte and a third free from Treacy to leave Cuala still in control 1-8 to 1-5 at the break. Cuala however had lost two players in their full-back line through injury and had to pull Oisin Gough, who was giving a man-of-the-match performance at centre-back, back in front of goal to mark Donnelly. Shane Keily was moved from centre-field to centre-back and Eoin Cronin introduced into mid-field. Dan Holden replaced his brother Shane in the corner and, together with Rob Reid, proceeded to give an exhibition of hurling in the corner.
Within ten minutes of the re-start, Cuala looked to be pulling away when a fine point from Cunningham on the 40′ and two quick points from the stylish Schutte stretched the lead to 5 points. However Crumlin had other ideas. Donnelly again responded with another fine goal following good work by Shane Martin and Rodney Elliot left him in space. Darren Whelan for Crumlin was now beginning to show his class at centre-forward and began catching clean ball off the puck-outs as the game opened up. He chipped in with two points to keep Crumlin in touch. With 8 minutes left on the clock, Treacy landed another accurate free to give Cuala a comfortable 3 point lead coming into the straight.
What happened in the final 6 minutes though would make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Cuala managed to spurn the first of two clear goal chances. Eoghan Dunne, now in his 15th straight Championship season with the red-and-whites, pulled on a hand-pass from Davy Cunningham after some great individual work by himself and Bobby Browne. Dunne didn’t make clean contact but the ball fell fortuitously at the feet of Shane O’Brien with the goalkeeper now out of position. O’Brien couldn’t make contact, and the ball was cleared up-field where Whelan took a magnificent catch, out-stripped the Cuala defence and sent a rocket to the roof of the Cuala net – a six point turn-around. A fine individual goal from the Dublin U21 star now left the Cuala supporters shell-shocked! To add insult to injury, with Cuala still reeling, Whelan latched onto a loose ball following the puck-out and split the posts from distance to leave Crumlin up by a point with 4 left on the clock. What a turn-around in the space of a minute! Ger Armstrong was introduced for Dunne and had almost an immediate impact. He took a ball on the left and got through the cover to see his kicked shot go narrowly wide. Cuala were now frantically looking for an equaliser as the game had lost any semblance of shape. Dan Holden denied Whelan his second goal with a magnificent block when the goal looked at his mercy and the ball eventually went harmlessly wide. From the puck-out, Shutte took a great catch on the 40′ and was taken down in front of goal. Treacy stepped up to convert the free leaving the sides level 1-16 to 3-10. It was clear that the referee had had enough excitement for one evening and blew up for a draw leaving both teams disappointed. What a finish though!
Crumlin now have 3 points from their three matches with Lucan and Craobh to come. Cuala have to beat Craobh and Judes to progress.
Cuala 1-16 Crumlin 3-10
CUALA: Fintan O’Brien, Shane Holden, Andy Browne, Rob Reid, Bobby Browne, Oisin Gough, Scott O’Brien, Shane Keily, Shane O’Brien 0-1, Davy Cunningham 0-2, Mark Schutte 0-4, Eoghan Dunne, David Treacy 1-7 (4 frees, 2 65’s), Cian Waldren 0-2.
Subs: Dan Holden for Shane Holden (Inj. 20 mins), Eoin Cronin for Andy Browne (inj. 25 mins), Ger Armstrong for Eoghan Dunne (55 mins