Saturday night football returned to Hyde Road as Cuala got their intermediate all-county championship campaign off to an impressive start with a tremendous all round team performance against Lucan Sarsfields. Our sideline reporter Richie O’Reilly was there to assess their performance and bring us the details.
In blustery conditions, Cuala took a few minutes to settle and Lucan registered the game’s two opening scores. However, with Jack Twomey and Liam Boland getting to grips with midfield and Neil Sullivan and Fergus Spillane shutting down the Lucan attack, the tide soon turned. Philly O’Donnell, Dan Bailey and Darragh Twomey marauded forward in support of the attack. Alan Benson kicked a towering point and that uncorked a sparkling first half performance. Tough tackling all around the field gave the opposition no room to operate effectively. Slick length of the field hand-passing moves were combined with intelligent kick passes into forwards running into space to get into the scoring zone. Conversion of these scoring chances was top notch. Benson added two more to his opener. Paul James, Tom Magee and Dan Keating added a brace apiece. Gavin Hartnett chipped in too before Mark O’Grady applied an emphatic finish to another flowing move for the goal that the team deserved. This saw a half time scoreline of Cuala 1-10 to Lucan’s 0-5
The half time discussion focused on keeping the intensity up and not letting the opposition back into it. Again, the execution was terrific. Strong tackling stopped the opposition often at source and our defenders played very much on the front foot, getting to the ball first and breaking up play with Luke Allen prominent in this after he came on.
Matthew Kiernan led a strong effort around the midfield area which provided an effective link between defence and attack. Ronan Sweeney further enlivened this effort when introduced and we continued to mix the fast hand pass with judicious foot passing. There was some really strong carrying into opposition territory with a red and white shirt always available to provide an option for the man in possession. James, Hartnett, O’Grady and Magee took up where they left off and kicked some wonderful scores which served to deflate the opposition. Darragh O’Reilly very nearly got in on the act when he ventured forward to take a ‘45’ which thudded off the crossbar. However, Eoin Kennedy, Niall James and Cillian Sheanon did add to the tally after their introduction. James Murphy was another who slotted seamlessly into things when he came on and, as well as kicked a neat point, he drilled a low shot to the corner of the net to put a cherry on top of what was a really dynamic display.
Some late let up in intensity did allow Lucan to get two late goals and this left the final scoreline: Cuala 2-24: Lucan 2-9. Twenty six scores against a team in the same league division illustrates just what a strong performance this was. All 15 starters and each of the 6 who were introduced contributed strongly making this a particularly satisfying all round effort. The benchmark is now set. Here’s hoping (and expecting) more of the same next time out.
Cuala 2-24: Lucan 2-9
Cuala Scorers : Paul James 0-6 ; Gavin Hartnett 0-4; Alan Benson 0-3; Tom Magee 0-3; Mark O’Grady 1-1; James Murphy 1-1; Dan Keating 0-2; Eoin Kennedy 0-2; Niall James 0-1; Cillian Sheanon 0-1