Cuala blaze a trail into the SHC final

by Gazette Reporter

CUALA’S senior hurlers now have one hand on the county championship title as they booked their spot in the final with two wins in five days last week.
Last Wednesday night, JP Byrne’s side travelled to Parnell Park to take on Craobh Chiarain in the Dublin SHC A quarter-final. It was a dominant performance from the Dalkey men as three first half goals set the tone for what turned out to be comfortable victory.
David Treacy really got the wheels in motion when he fired a penalty into the back of the net after just three minutes. Mark Schutte and Colm Cronin grabbed first half goals too as Cuala led 3-07 to 1-08 at the break. Alan McCrabbe was key in Chiarain keeping in touch with his 1-04 from frees in the opening half.
While it took three minutes for Schutte to raise the green flag in the first half, it took just two in the second as Cuala broke rapidly down the right and Cronin finished off the move and fired his second past Chester in goal.
Treacy and Darragh O’Connell were Cuala’s chief scorers with the former grabbing 1-5 and the latter scoring 0-7. Chiarain never really threatened a serious comeback the final score was 4-16 to 1-11.
That win set up a semi-final clash against Ballyboden in Sunday at Parnell Park and despite it being a closer contest, Cuala once again ran out deserved winners.
The tempo was high throughout here with plenty of big hits and strong defensive work but it was Cuala’s extra bit of variety and firepower up front that won the game.
David Treacy was key once more, scoring a total of 0-14 (0-12 frees) in the 0-27 to 1-21 victory. He wasn’t alone however as the likes of Schutte and Cronin were on form again while the performance of wing-back Sean Moran, who scored two points, was just one of a number of positives at the other end.
The game and the scoring were extremely close up until the final 10 minutes of the first half when Cuala hit four without reply, with Treacy grabbing three and Nicky Kenny the other. This allowed them to go in at the break leading 0-14 to 0-9.
Cuala remained on top after the restart but chances of Boden bouncing back began to rise when Paul Ryan converted a penalty after 45 minutes. Ryan followed that with two points which cut the lead to 0-20 to 1-16, but that was the closest it ever was again.
In truth Boden probably relied too much on Ryan who scored 1-17 of their total.
Cuala will now wait to find out if they will face either Lucan Sarsfields or St Jude’s in the SHC final.

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