Cuala celebrate their New Ireland Insurance Junior A final victory. Picture: Peter Hickey/GAAPics.com

CUALA’S powerful first half performance saw them land the Dublin Junior A Ladies Football Championship title in Swords last Friday night, 3-15 to 3-9.
Jennifer Dunne and Eimear Loughlin were in superb form throughout for Cuala, and even though Lucan attempted a gallant fightback in the final-quarter, John McKeown’s charges claimed their first-ever title at this grade.
The 12th Lock side did open the scoring with a successful second-minute free from Aoife McKearney and they created a number of opportunities inside the opening 10 minutes.
But ultimately couldn’t build a bigger gap. Following a fine run through the heart of the Lucan defence, Hannah O’Dea restored parity to the proceeded, and the first goal arrived in the 11th-minute.
Corner-forward Lasariona Huggard found herself in an advanced position on the right-hand side, and her subsequent shot at goal drifted into the bottom corner of Susan Scully’s net.
With centre-forward Dunne opening her account from the next attack, it was beginning to look ominous for Paul Quinn’s Lucan side.

Cuala captain Siobhan Ni Cheallaigh with the cup. Picture: GAApics.com

By contrast, Cuala were now playing with confidence and another speculative effort by midfielder Loughlin led to a second goal. While there was still plenty of time for Lucan to work their way back in contention, they were struggling to get quality ball into their forward line, and were constantly forced on the back-foot by the impressive Cuala
Dunne was in blistering form on the 40, and she hit another haul of 0-5 to increase their lead to 14 points. Blaithin Lane and Ciara McKeown were also on target during a strong period for Cuala, and although their scoring sequence was interrupted by a stoppage-time point from Lucan’s Emma Flanagan, they brought a seemingly insurmountable 2-9 to 0-2 cushion into the break.
The Hyde Park brigade reinforced their superiority within 60 seconds of the restart. Grainne O’Driscoll was introduced at half-time along with Cara Sullivan, and she fired to roof of the Lucan net at the end of an incisive attacking move.
She also raised a white flag on 35 minutes and it was quickly turning into a damage limitation exercise for Lucan. A brilliant three-pointer by McKearney provided them with some degree of solace.
There were no reason for Cuala to panic, though, as Dunne and Loughlin enhanced their own personal tallies to counter-act Lucan’s second goal of the night
The Lucan performance levels were certainly improving as the half developed, and when a Katie Wisdom point from close-range was complimented by McKearney’s second goal, their deficit had been reduced to 10 points.
Lucan continued to take the game to Cuala as the final whistle approached, and unanswered scores by Mairi Moynihan (two), Flanagan and Quinn meant that they had registered 1-5 without reply in the closing stages.
This wasn’t enough to spoil Cuala’s party, however, and they finished with six points to spare.

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