MINOR HURLING LEAGUE DIV 1 – WEDNESDAY 26TH JUNE, SOMERTON.
CUALA 2 -16; CASTLEKNOCK 1-8
Match Photos here
An outstanding individual display by Dublin Minor Captain Seán Treacy, and a polished second half team-performance by our Minor hurlers was enough to take the spoils in this entertaining, open contest in ideal hurling conditions on Wednesday 26th June.
On a warm, sultry evening on a perfect playing surface, Castleknock belied their low standing in the League with a determined, workmanlike performance and should have been three goals clear in the opening quarter. Cuala didn’t get out of the blocks at all and were lethargic and slow to the ball around the middle. Only for the defending of Kevin Killian and Jack Behan at the heart of the defense, the Dalkeymen would have been in serious trouble. Treacy up front for the Reds was a constant threat, and with very little ball produced some wonderful magic. By half-time he had clocked up 1-4 from his total of 1-8. Cillian Sheanan hit the only other score of the half from way out on the right. Andrew Murphy was the provider in chief and was making a nuisance of himself on the 40’. The goal just before the interval was sublime. Taking down a high delivery from Murphy, the Dublin captain collected the ball in front, turned past his marker, side-stepped the rest of the defense and deftly tapped the ball over the head of the on-rushing keeper. Cuala went in a goal to the good on a score-line of 1-5 to 0-5. Castleknock could only rue their 3 missed goal chances and seven wides in that first half.
Cuala started the second half with purpose and began to take control. Jake Malone and Donal Lane began to spark in mid-field and Shane Murphy and Cian Byrne started to flex themselves on the wings. The introduction of Seán Gibney and Con O’Callaghan added more fuel to the fire and Castleknock were now visibly on the back foot. The ‘knock defense began to creak and the second goal was not long in coming. Treacy struck a laser-like delivery from 60m to Andrew Murphy from out on the right. Murphy, moving to his left, caught the ball, turned and took on his man. O’Callaghan seeing the opportunity, moved across the square, took the pass and, in a blink of an eye, the ball was nestling in the Castleknock net. Behan was now playing some wonderful hurling and demonstrating all of his hurling skills. He mopped up everything loose at centre-back and delivered good ball forward. He helped himself to two points, hit O’Callaghan with two more and the duel Dublin star rarely misses! Conor O’Sullivan who worked tirelessly throughout, took a ball on the right, soloed down the wing and clipped a wonderful point off his left.
The game looked over for the Northsiders, but they weren’t willing to give up the fight just yet. A turn-over of possession in the Cuala full-back line led to a ground pull that raised a red flag for the ‘blue-and-golds’ despite the best efforts of O’Bráináin. Almost immediately, a second mix up in the Cuala defense left Dublin Minor ‘keeper Colin Lynch in oceans of space in front of goal. One-on-one with the ‘keeper, he hit a thunder-bolt that King Henry would have been proud of. O’ Bráináin dived full-length to his left and, with wonderful skill, tipped the ball out for a 65’. What a save! The Castleknock mentors began to pack up their bags – they realized it wasn’t going to be their day! The referee brought proceedings to a close on a score-line of 2-16 to 1-8 in favour of the visitors.
Next up: Cuala have one back-match against Kilmacud-Crokes remaining in the League, but it is doubtful now if this game will be played. It looks likely that the win for Cuala has set up a mouth-watering League Final against Crokes!
Team: Seán O’Bráináin, Karl Schutte, Kevin Killian, Carl Wolahan, Cian Byrne, Jack Behan (0-2), Ciarán McDermott, Jake Malone, Donal Lane (0-1), Matt Higgins, Andrew Murphy (0-1), Shane Murphy, Cillian Sheanan (0-1), Seán Treacy (1-8, 3 frees), Conor O’Sullivan (0-1).