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The U14A hurlers despite some great performance’s were unable to qualify from their group but a great experience for all none the less. 

CUALA’S LATE COME-BACK FALLS SHORT AS ANTRIM CHAMPIONS TAKE THE HONOURS IN NATIONAL HURLING FÉILE

U14 NATIONAL HURLING FÉILE DIVISION 2, ROUND 1 – Thursday 5th July 2012, Hyde Park.

CUALA 2 – 3; NAOMH EOIN, ANTRIM 4 – 5

The Cuala U14 Hurlers left their come-back too late in the first round of the National Hurling Féile in Hyde Park. Two well taken goals in the last five minutes of the second half were not enough to dethrone an impressive Naomh Eoin team. All the damage was done in the first half when the Antrim Champions hit a ‘purple patch’ scoring three fine goals in a 5 minute spell. Their off-the-ball running, their speed and the accuracy of their half-forward line was causing problems for the Dalkeymen. Their ability to find players in better positions opened up the Cuala defence on three occasions and their deadly inside forwards didn’t miss. In the opening period, Cuala lacked their normal fluency and seemed nervous in front of the large hometown crowd. They could only muster two points in that first period, both frees from the ever-accurate Emmet Murphy. When referee Derek Oman blew up for half-time, Cuala had a mountain to climb on a score-line of 3.3 to 0.2.

But this little band-of-brothers are nothing if not resilient and they never give up. They have a ‘never-say-die’ attitude and knew they still had a chance to claw back the lead if they worked very hard. They started slowly to climb that mountain!

They came out with a steely determination and had a new confidence in their hurling. James Murphy steadied things at the back and with Diarmait Maas and Dan Johnson now bossing things in mid-field and Oisin Marray, Fionn ‘Drisceoil and Cathal O’Floinn dominating on the half-back line, the tide began to turn. The Northerners’ grip began to loosen. Within 5 minutes of the re-start Thomas McCarthy brilliantly burst through the Glensmen’s defence and bore down on goal. He needed to take the shot himself but, unselfishly, tried a pass to Greg Sheehan in the corner and the chance was gone. Cuala began to throw everything but the kitchen sink at their Antrim opponents and Sheehan and big Joe Mahony were unlucky to come away with nothing from two successive goal opportunities. To add insult to injury, the Glensmen broke down field and goaled with 12 mins remaining on the clock. It was heart-breaking for the men in red-and-white, but Cuala re-grouped and began the climb again. Mark O’Treasaigh began to catch clean ball at centre –forward and drive it into the Eoin defence. Marray and Maas were fighting for everything and winning the ‘dirty-ball’. A wonderful passing move involving five Cuala players ended up with Stevie McDonnell burying the sliothar in the Antrim net. But time was ebbing away. With Naomh Eoin now fighting a rear-guard action, Cuala were getting frees. Murphy struck a real beauty to the net off one such 21m free as Cuala continued to hurry with time running out. Unfortunately it was not to be. Naomh Eoin ran out winners on a score-line of 4.5 to 2.3. Best for Cuala was Diarmait Maas who showed determination , heart and great work-rate from start to finish.

Panel: Ryan De Felice, Rory McMahon, Brian Coronella, Tiarnan Lane, Oisin Marray , Fionn O’Drisceoil (0.1 ’65), Cathal  O’Floinn, Daniel Johnson, Diarmait Maas , Emmet Murphy (1.2 all frees), Joseph Mahony , Michael Wylde, Fionn Myers, Mark O’Treasaigh, Steven McDonnell (1.0) Subs: James Murphy, Thomas McCarthy, Conor Newman, Greg Sheehan, ‘99s – Dairmaid, Jack, Cormac & Ewen.

CUALA’S EFFORTS NOT REWARDED AS LUCAN STEAL THE WIN IN NATIONAL HURLING FÉILE

U14 NATIONAL HURLING FÉILE DIVISION 2, ROUND 2 – Friday 6th July 2012, 12th Lock, Lucan.

CUALA 0 – 8; LUCAN SARSFIELDS 2 – 4

This was the one that got away! The Cuala U14 Hurlers outscored their Lucan opponents by 8 scores to 6, but goals win matches.  Both teams had to win to stay in the competition.

Weather conditions were not conducive to quality hurling but both sides served up a very entertaining match. Cuala swopped points with Lucan early on but with three fine individual scores from Stevie McDonnell, Greg Sheehan and Fionn Myers it looked like they might begin to pull away. But despite two outstanding saves from Ryan De Ferice, the Lucan centre-forward drove the first arrow to the Cuala net mid-way through the half. Lucan tagged on three long-range frees following what can only be described as ‘baffling’ decisions from the man in black! That goal divided the sides at half-time on a score-line of 0.4 to 1.4.

Cuala came out in the second half in much more determined fashion and within 5 minutes had brought the arrears down to the minimum following two well taken Murphy frees. Cuala started to battle for every ball and were winning most of the personal duels. But again, when the Cuala Mentors were beginning to breath a little easier, Lucan’s mid-fielder pounced on a loose ball and went through for a second goal. Cuala knew they had to begin the fight all over again!

Dan Johnson and Oisin Marray in the center re-doubled their efforts and the pendulum began to swing in the Dalkeymen’s direction. The Cuala effort was immense and Lucan would not score again in the final 15 minutes. Cuala ‘pitched their camp’ again in front of the Lucan sticks and hammered away at the Lucan defence. They were giving it everything but decisions were not going there way and they were only rewarded with three frees.

The final whistle sounded, the Cuala players collapsed and the Lucan mentors knew they had ‘got out of jail’ with a final score-line of 0.8 to 2.4. They progress to play Portlaoise in the Division 2 semi-finals.

Cuala today needed the ‘rub of the green’ but unfortunately, Lady Luck had deserted them! There will no doubt be other, better days to come for this wonderful group of players.

Next up: U14 League match v Oliver Plunketts/Eoghan Rua 16th August.

Panel: Ryan De Felice, James Murphy, Brian Coronella, Rory McMahon, Cathal O’Floinn , Fionn O’Drisceoil (0.1 ’65), Thomas McCarthy, Daniel Johnson, Oisin Marray , Greg Sheehan (0.1), Mark O’Treasaigh, Steven McDonnell (0.1), Fionn Myers (0.2), Joe Mahony, Emmett Murphy (0.3 all frees).

Subs: Cormac Quinn for Oisin Marray (inj. 20 mins.); Conor Newman for Joe Mahony (20 mins.); Diarmait Maas for Mark O’Treasaigh (25 mins); Mickey Wylde for Fionn Myers (30 mins.).

OFFALY CHAMPIONS PIP CUALA IN A THRILLER AT NATIONAL HURLING FÉILE

U14 NATIONAL HURLING FÉILE DIVISION 2, ROUND 3 – Friday 6th July 2012, 12th Lock, Lucan.

CUALA 0 – 4; KILCORMACK KILLOUGHEY, OFFALY 1 – 6

Sometimes in sport, the final score doesn’t reflect the reality of how close a game was. For Cuala’s U14 Hurlers, this was unfortunately the case in this absorbing 2nd Round, National Hurling Féile Division 2 game played in atrocious conditions at 12th Lock in Lucan. Cuala ‘laid siege’ to the Offaly Champions goal for most of the second half but couldn’t find the key to unlock a totally committed Faithful defence.

Cuala had a lot of goal chances in the game. On 15 minues, Greg Sheehan, who enjoyed a wonderful Féile, went on yet another one of his mazy solo runs and ended up close to the Offaly goal. His kicked shot took the paint off the upright but went wide.  On 23 minutes, keeper Ryan De Felice was called forward to drive a 20m free to the net. Saved! On 25 minutes, Emmett Murphy at full-forward took a wonderful pass from Mark O’Treasaigh, ran straight through the heart of the Kilcormack defence, and pulled the trigger. From ten meters out he made great contact and hit a wonderful strike goal-ward. The Offaly goalie dived to his left and pulled off a save Dónal Óg Cusack would have been proud of. No-one on the Dalkey side-line could believe it! The Offaly goal was leading a charmed existence but time was ebbing away for the Dalkeymen. With five minutes on the clock, Cuala charged forward in numbers but had wave after wave of attack repelled by their green and gold opponents. In the final minutes with 2 points separating the teams, Cuala were awarded three close in frees but with a wall of 12 players in front of the Offaly net, each time the ball was shepherded to safety. Fionn O’Drisceoil was bombing the defence from the air with long range 65s, but still the Faithful County held out. At this point 22 players were ‘camped’ in the Offaly Champions half.

The break-away goal at the death was crushing for the men in red and white. They had thrown everyone forward to get that elusive goal but, in an instant, the Midlanders had sealed victory and put a lop-sided picture on the score-board.

The courage, determination and never-say-die attitude from this wonderful Cuala outfit will no doubt stand to them in the future.

Footnote: It’s surprising that the only representative from the Faithful County in this year’s National Hurling Féile was a team from two different clubs, Kilcormack Killoughey, and they played in Division 2! It looks like a lot of work needs to be done in Offaly to get the county back to where it should be in the upper echelons of hurling.

Next up: U14 League match v Oliver Plunketts/Eoghan Rua 16th August.

Panel: Ryan De Felice, James Murphy, Brian Coronella, Tiarnan Lane, Cathal O’Floinn , Fionn O’Drisceoil, Thomas McCarthy, Diarmait Maas, Oisin Marray , Greg Sheehan , Danial Johnson, Mickey Wylde, Emmet Murphy (0.3 all frees), Mark O’Treasaigh (0.1), Steven McDonnell.

Subs: Joe Mahony for Mickey Wylde (20 mins.), Rory McMahon for Tiarnan Lane (30 mins.).