Cuala’s David Treacy is set to be one of the crucial players for the Dalkey side when they meet Kilmacud Crokes. Picture: Sam Barnes

MODEST Cuala selector JP Byrne has talked up Kilmacud Crokes, their local rivals and Dublin senior hurling championship final opponents ahead of their huge showdown at Parnell Park on Saturday at 3pm.
With the pair having shared three of the last four county championships, the final is an encounter many might have seen coming, and is the talk of south Dublin as the season culminates in a potentially epic showdown.
Cuala have faced a slightly different journey to last year, with Byrne suggesting that 2016 has seen teams “very wary of us, and perhaps a little bit more guarded facing us as champions.
“But the fundamentals are still the same. The top teams in Dublin are very good, and it’s really easy to get caught if you’re not at your best.”
Cuala’s opposition have struggled to break them down this year yet final opponents Crokes have run them close.
The Dalkey side won comfortably in the league but Crokes were on the cusp of victory in the championship group stage before a last-gasp Cuala goal snatched a draw.
“They’d probably feel they deserved to win that day,” Byrne admitted. “To be fair, we’d probably agree.”
It’s been a tough ride throughout for Cuala, whose opponents so far in the championship have included Ballyboden St Enda’s, St Vincent’s, Crokes and Lucan Sarsfields, all of whom would be considered at least outside challengers for the title.
Crokes, meanwhile, have crushed Craobh Chiarain and O’Toole’s in their last two rounds with some heavy scoring.
“True, but Oisin O’Rorke has also been prolific for Crokes,” Byrne argues when we point out the brilliant season free taker David Treacy is having.
“All of our players know what they have to do, and what’s expected of them on the pitch. It should be a very good, very physical game.
“From our point of view, we’d hope to score goals and not to concede them, and we’d hope to win.
“But it’s going to be tough, there’s nothing between the teams; it’ll come down to small margins.”
Cuala have long put an emphasis on discipline and Byrne talks up the impact of that aspect on the way the game is played, pointing as much to its impact on results as the club’s image.
“Obviously, learning discipline in the tackle is critical to the team, as so many points come from frees in hurling,” he explains.
“We try to instil this from a really young age, and it runs through the club. It’s also about the reputation of the club, and about playing the game as it’s meant to be played.
“But it certainly gives you the best chance of winning. There’s nothing to be gained by being undisciplined in hurling.
“Crokes are a very good club and I think the two teams have a lot of respect for each other, and they play the game the game the same way we do, in the right spirit,” Byrne concludes.
“Whoever wins, after the game the other team will congratulation them. We can’t think beyond Saturday, so as much as it’s a cliche, everything is about this right now.”