Kerry man O’Connell outstanding as Cuala become first Dublin club to lift All-Ireland hurling title

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Cuala 2-19Ballyea 1-10

Kevin O’Brien reports from Croke Park

CUALA BECAME THE first hurling side from the capital to win All-Ireland honours on St Patrick’s Day after a commanding victory over Ballyea at Croke Park.

Goals from Colm Cronin and Jake Malone sent the Dalkey club on the way to victory as they dealt far better with the occasion than their Clare opponents.

After a nervy opening quarter Cronin’s three-pointer sent the Dublin champions into a 1-2 to 0-1 lead and from that point they never looked like being beaten.

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Niall Deasy’s goal left Ballyea within four on 50 minutes, but Cuala hit 1-5 without reply to seal their maiden win.

Kerry native Darragh O’Connell was outstanding at centre-field, firing over three from play on the way to collecting the man of the match award.

Dublin sharpshooter David Treacy was clinical throughout and posted 0-9, while county footballer Con O’Callaghan was a menace at full-forward. O’Callaghan scored a brace of points and assisted Cronin’s first-half goal.

Cuala isolated O’Callaghan to good effect inside, with Mark Schutte and Cian Waldron operating close to the half-forward line.

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

In his first game back at Croke Park since 2013, Tony Kelly was unable to bend the game to his will as he often has done in the past. He was well-marshalled at midfield by converted wing-back John Sheanon in the opening half, and Malone in the second.

Even a final quarter switch to centre-forward failed to ignite a performance from Kelly, who was given no time or space in possession in the middle third.

Kelly showed his frustration by picking up a 27th minute yellow card for an untidy swing across the body of Sean Treacy. It was an incident which summed up his afternoon.

After a nervy start, Cuala hit the net in the 15th minute to lead by 1-2 to 0-1. John Sheanon launched a skyscraper towards Con O’Callaghan, whose neat touch sent Cronin through to drill home from close range.

Ballyea responded with the next three scores but Cuala finished off the half with a pair of Treacy frees and a point apiece from Darragh O’Connell and John Sheanon.

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Pearse Lillis spurned a golden goal chance shortly after the restart, as four frees from David Treacy left Cuala 1-12 to 0-7 ahead after 41 minutes.

Niall Deasy’s radar improved after half-time and he converted four frees to bring Ballyea back within six as we headed down the stretch.

The Clare champions had the margin down to three by the 50th minute, after Lillis angled a long ball into Deasy, who slammed the ball past Sean Brennan.

Cuala’s response was cold and clinical. Darragh O’Connell raced through and fired over, before Jake Malone cantered down the heart of the Ballyea defence and finished into the bottom corner.

That cut Ballyea’s revival short and long-range scores from O’Connell, Mark Schutte and a Colum Sheanon brace put the icing on Cuala’s 2-19 to 1-10 victory

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Scorers for Cuala: David Treacy 0-9 (0-8f), Colm Cronin 1-1, Darragh O’Connell 0-3, Jake Malone 1-0, Con O’Callaghan 0-2, Colum Sheanon, John Sheanon and Mark Schutte 0-1 each.

Scorers for Ballyea: Niall Deasy 1-6 (0-5f), Pearse Lillis 0-2, James Murphy and Gary Brennan 0-1 each.

Cuala

1. Seán Brennan

4. Simon Timlin
3. Cian O’Callaghan
6. Paul Schutte

8. Jake Malone
5. Seán Moran
2. Oisin Gough

7. John Sheanon
9. Darragh O’Connell

13. Seán Treacy
11. Colm Cronin
12. David Treacy

15. Mark Schutte
14. Con O’Callaghan
10. Cian Waldron

Subs

19. Colum Sheanon for Waldron (46)
20. Nicky Kenny for Cronin (62)

Ballyea

1. Kevin Sheehan

2. Joe Neylon
3. Jack Browne
4. Brian Carrig

5. Gearoid O’Connell
6. Paul Flanagan
7. James Murphy

8. Tony Kelly
9. Stan Lineen

10. Niall Deasy
13. Pat Joe Connolly
12. Cathal Doohan

15. Pearse Lillis
11. Gary Brennan
18. Damien Burke

Subs

17. Martin O’Leary for Connolly (37)
21. David Egan for Burke (40)
19. Brian Murphy for Neylon (55)

Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary).

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