Cuala’s double dream

by Stephen Findlater

CUALA enjoyed a dream Saturday as their senior hurlers landed the Dublin championship for the third time in succession on the same day their ladies footballers landed the Leinster junior championship in Kinnegad.
The former were pushed all the way by Kilmacud Crokes, eventually grateful to a couple of David Treacy scores in injury time to record a 1-13 to 0-13 with Darragh O’Connell’s goal proving crucial.
For the ladies, Sinead Wylde scored a hat trick of goals as they overcame Clann na nGael 4-8 to 1-7, overcoming a first half deficit in devastating style, crowning a spectacular weekend.
Speaking in the wake of the hurlers victory, Cuala captain Paul Schutte said it continues an amazing run for a series of current players, following in family footsteps.
“Myself, the Treacys, the O’Callaghans. All their dads won championships,” Schutte said after the final. “This club is built around families and we all want to follow our fathers and uncles and stuff like that and we celebrate as a family.
“It was always a goal of mine as a young lad; my dad captained Cuala and won three championships and I just wanted to replicate him. I am on cloud nine!”
As for the challenge of Crokes, it was another nail-biting victory in their great south Dublin rivalry.
“We played them twice last year, drawing and winning by a point so we were expecting the toughest of games and they delivered it. There were a couple of goalmouth scrambles at the end so we are just delighted to get over the line.
“Mattie [Kenny] deserves a lot of credit. When you try to go back to back, there’s always a danger you are not going to train hard enough because you get complacent,” Schutte said in praise of his manager. “But he gave us a nice long break and then backed us to get the hunger back. After the summer. We came back ready to go again.”
And now they have a Leinster championship date with Kilkenny champions Dicksboro.
“It’s brilliant the journey we are on and hopefully the Cuala Ultras will build momentum again. It’s just great for the whole of Dalkey.”
On the women’s side, they have an All-Ireland semi-final to look forward to on November 18 or 19, another big day on the horizon.
For Kilmacud in the hurling final, their manager Ollie Baker praised his own side’s performance against the reigning All-Ireland champions as a Herculean second half performance ended up just short.
“We went in at half-time with the advantage of the breeze and it didn’t work out for us in the first half,” he said afterwards.
“We went in on the opposite end of the scoreboard. And I think maybe we put an awful lot of work into trying to get that scoreboard back to equal and we never managed to get ahead.
“That was a huge thing for Cuala. They could hit us on the break then. And they got their scores a bit easier in the second half.”

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