CUALA landed the Dublin Under-16B football championship last Saturday with a superb performance in Parnell Park, running up a deceptively comfortable 10-point final victory over Craobh Chiarain.
The Dalkey side led from start to finish, eventually winning out 2-13 to 1-6, but it formally turned during a 10-minute burst after half time with three key saves from goalkeeper Cormac Quinn.
It concluded a free-scoring run in the competition, opening up with a massive 8-13 to 1-5 victory over St Peregrine’s in the first round.
They followed up with another strong victory, amassing 3-13 in a nine-point win over O’Toole’s in Coolock in the quarter-finals.
Another 3-17 was scored in the semi-final as they beat local rivals Kilmacud Crokes by 19-points to continue their emphatic run and that form continued into the final.
Jack Hartnett opened the scoring from midfield in the first minute while a Tom Magee free and a Fionn O’Drisceoil score from play built a three-point lead before Craobh opened their account.
Two saves from Quinn in the 10th and 24th minutes prevented green flags and Cuala edged ahead through two more Magee frees, a brace from Ross Broderick and one from his brother Jamie.
Chiarain’s, though, got a goal on the stroke of half-time which reduced the gap to just one point at the break.
But Cuala sprung from the traps in the second period. Two points from sub Fergus O’Rourke came either side of another Magee free and, on 36 minutes, Magee went low from a close in free and drove the ball into the roof of the net.
Two minutes later, Ruairi Franklin latched onto a through ball from Diarmait Maas, played a one-two with Joe Mahony who was excelling at full forward and scored Cuala’s second goal.
With the score at 2-11 to 1-6, Craobh won a penalty but Quinn dived low to his right to keep it out. The defence remained strong with Peadar O’Cofaigh Byrne, James Murphy and Charlie Crown cleaning up in the full back line and Mark Tracey standing tall in the half back line.
Thomas McCarthy and Rory McMahon were instrumental in winning ball that led to Cuala’s two final points from O’Rourke and Mahony.
Stephen McDonnell, Cathal O’Floinn and Conor Newman played their parts coming to replace tired legs in the closing stages and when the final whistle blew there was a 10-point margin and a richly deserved title.