Cuala 2 20 BBSE 1 18
Long Fella reports from the Couch with Photos by John Kirwan
Our senior hurlers faded out of the county final at the business end of a hugely competitive contest at Parnell Park on Sunday afternoon. Their final quarter tally of just a brace of points from Aiden Mellett and Niall Ryan was no match for the defending champions tally of 1 05. Boden actually led their Dalkey opponents when referee Sean Stack restarted the game with just a quarter to run. Cuala effectively closed down on Boden’s attackers and deprived them of scorable ball. Credit must go to the Cuala defence where Cian O’Callaghan was hugely effective.
The game opened brightly for Boden with three excellent points from play off the hurleys of Ryan, Conor Dooley (a monster strike) and a classy strike from Paul Ryan. The latter gave a quality performance over the hour from play and ‘dead balls’. However, it was his cousin Niall who was most effective from play on the score-sheet. Boden’s good play continued with Paul again on the mark from out wide (a Conal Keaney pass) followed by Mellett, a tasty strike. With the score difference at three points, enter Cuala’s Sean Moran on a thundering run and a final unstoppable shot to the roof of the Boden net. Game tied! The remaining scores for Boden in the first quarter fell to Ryan from placed balls responding to a Jake Malone point for Cuala – Boden led 0 08 to 1 04.
The quality of Boden’s play improved on resumption and they opened up a decent lead by half-time of four points. Of course this lead could have been better were it not for the concession of a brace of late Cuala scores from their big men Con O’Callaghan and Mark Schutte. Boden’s goal-man Finn McGarry showed his blocking skills with a good bat-away from Cuala’s Colm Cronin. Niall Ryan, Dooley and Keaney all pointed and Mellett proved an elusive customer by getting ball-in-hand into the Cuala square only to be pushed over and earn a penalty. Keaney was the goal scorer after he reacted to the rebound – 1 11 to 1 06. The quarter continued with the Ryan cousins slotting an excellent brace before the concession of late Cuala scores. HT 1 13 to 1 09.
The first signs of a Cuala revival came early in the second half with David Treacy making his presence felt with scored frees. Boden’s Paul Doherty came to the rescue with a fine point from the stand side-line. There followed a whole series of scrums that probably came out 50/50, but the telling point that must be made is that Cuala were now better closing out the space for Boden scores. Over the quarter Boden only raised three white flags and it was Ryan that was the scorer of a brace of frees that just kept the Boden in front.
The less said about Boden’s final quarter disruption to the score-board, the better. The Cuala men stepped up the pace of the game and with Keaney and team Captain Simon Lambert forced off early, the writing was on the Donnycarney wall that the champions would prevail. Con O’Callaghan scored a goal with defenders hanging out of him, only for the referee to ask free-taker Sean Moran to place the ball on the penalty spot. The goal laid the foundation for the Cuala win. Boden had a few late chances for goals, but the Cuala defence held out. Schutte and O’Callaghan used their considerable strength down the middle to unsure that Boden were kept at bay.
Of course the club will be disappointed by this loss, but it must be stated that Cuala are worthy champions once again. Boden’s poor second half allowed their opponents back into a game that appeared to be slipping away from them once they opened up a decent lead. Cuala showed a better eye for the goal-posts by only being wide of the target on two occasions. On the other hand, Boden notched up ten wides over the hour. Of the Boden players, perhaps Niall Ryan proved the most effective over the hour. On Cuala’s side, the placing of Sean Moran at corner forward made a significant contribution to their attack.
Squad; Finn McGarry, David O’Connor, Luke Corcoran, Stephen O’Connor, Shane Durkin, Simon Lambert, Sean McDonnell, James Madden, Niall Ryan, Niall McMorrow, Conal Keaney, Paul Ryan, Paul Doherty, Aiden Mellett, Conor Dooley, Conor McCormack, David Curtin, Luke McDwyer, Conor McKeon, Paddy Dunleavy, Dean Curran, Pearse Christie, Richie Foley, Kevin Desmond, James Roche, Conor O’Donoghue, Stephen Hiney, James Maguire, Eoghan O’Neill, Conor Robinson.