Cuala’s goal blitz lands AHL1 title

by Gazette Reporter
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Cuala 3-17
Ballyboden St Enda’s 0-18

GOALS from Darragh O’Connell, Colm Cronin and Niall Carthy saw Cuala capture the Dublin AHL1 title, defeating fellow southsiders Ballyboden St Enda’s in Saturday’s decider at O’Toole Park.

Carthy’s strike five minutes from time was the insurance score for the Dalkey side as Boden had just hit four points without reply to trail by two points.

Cuala had come to Crumlin on Saturday afternoon intent on dethroning dual 2018 champions Ballyboden of a title that they had held for two years.

The game centred on the performance of the bigger names on the team-sheet, and on that score Cuala came on well on top.

In the engine room, they partnered Dubs stars Daragh O’Connell and Jake Malone. At centre-back, Paul Schutte deputised for the absent Sean Moran and, protecting the inner sanctum, they placed John Sheanon in the spot normally reserved for Cian O’Callaghan.

However, the star man was arguably their net-minder Sean Brennan. He was equal to about six goal-bound shots from the Boden forward-line, resulting in a well-earned clean sheet.

Up front, Colm Cronin looked very sharp and moved elusively into the open spaces.

On the scoring, the Dalkey side bagged two first half goals of the highest quality. Cronin’s was a low daisy-cutter of a shot from some distance.

This score equalled Boden’s opening scores from Paul Ryan and a beauty from Niall Ryan after Conor McKeown set him up.

Cuala kicked on with Cronin pointing after Liam Murphy found him in space. The scoring over the next 15 minutes was all points with the sweetest of them coming from Boden’s James Madden and Conor Dooley.

The red and whites replied with equal quality and Cronin and David Treacy showed why their side must be respected as the team to beat in the autumn.

Boden’s Aiden Mellett looked sharp and pointed after Luke Corcoran found him with a long ball. Cuala’s second goal came later in the half. O’Connell raced through the Boden defence after accepting the sweetest pass in a parallel line to the goal-line from tight on the spectator side.

His direct run ended with a rasper of a shot that Gary Maguire could not reach;Half-time had the score at 0-13 points to 2-9.

Boden dominated possession for the second half but, try as they might, they never got level.

A tally of five points over the 30 minutes was never going to be enough to match Cuala. Paul Doherty and Stephen O’Connor pointed two quality scores but, again, it was the goal-threat from Cuala that undid their efforts.

Boden tried several low shots, but the Cuala line remained unbreached. At the other end, a defensive mix-up led to a poached goal for Cuala and a lead that would be enough to see them home.

Boden’s James Roche pointed a trade-mark score after he worked hard to create his own bit of space. Cuala’s big players kept to the script and looked comfortable in the heart of the defence. The last four scores were all for Cuala and they finished full-value for their win.

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