Cuala delivered when it mattered most, as they secured their seventh Dublin Senior 1 Hurling Championship title, following a 1-18 to 1-14 win over St. Brigid’s at Parnell Park in Sunday’s final.
Contesting their first final since 2004, St. Brigid’s weren’t keen to make up the numbers and despite conceding an early goal from Cuala’s Con O’Callaghan, the Russell Park outfit went toe-to-toe with their South Dublin counterparts and were level at the break.
A strong finish was keen for Cuala taking victory in this game.
A trio of Cuala points in the closing stages, coupled with the sending off of Brigid’s forward Kevin Callaghan in the 53rd minute made for a thrilling finish.
Just a point separated the teams with three minutes of normal time remaining after Johnny McGuirk Jnr. delivered his second point of the game.
However, Cuala’s ability to close out contests came to the fore with the experienced Sean Moran and David Treacy delivering match winning scores when it mattered most.
Earlier an O’Callaghan goal had helped the 2017 winners on their way to a 1-2 to 0-1 lead after 12 minutes, with Jake Malone and Treacy also on target.
But Brigid’s fired back into contention, with Daire Plunkett delivering some fine scores from distance and Paul Winters impressing from placed-balls.
A goal separated the sides late in the opening half, but St Brigid’s finished the half strongly.
Substitute Luke Purtill, Keith Mullally and Winters all delivered points to tie the game at the interval.
Cuala forged 1-10 to 0-9 ahead by the 42nd minute, with Kerry native Darragh O’Connell opening the second half scoring with a fine point from play.
Both defences proved tight over the next while, conceding frees which were punished by the respective free-takers.
Seven points from placed balls were shared with Winters firing for Brigid’s and David Treacy on target for Cuala.
Eoghan Dunne also chipped in with a fine sideline cut for Brigid’s during this spell.
Cuala moved four points clear but Brigid’s dug in, with a Keith Mullally goal coupled with a Winters free cutting the gap to two points.
Cuala manager Willie Maher was delighted by the manner of the win – his first in the hot-seat as manager of the Dalkey side.
“I’m delighted that we dug in today,” he said.
“County finals are very difficult, and very very difficult to win.
“I suppose I’m just delighted with today and now we move on to two weeks time.”
Con O’Callaghan’s early injury was a major blow for Cuala.
“Con is a fantastic player, but today lads dug in around it, and they filled in the gap which I suppose Con left up there and they played very well when theymatch was in the melting pot and we are delighted with that.”