Wednesday 26 July 2017

Cuala driven by sense of 'unfinished business' from 2015 misfire - O'Callaghan

Cuala's Cian O’Callaghan. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Cuala's Cian O’Callaghan. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

Nobody wants to leave a job half done, and if there's one thing that drives a team forward it's that sense of regret at not getting over the line, and Cuala's hurlers are no different.

Despite their rookie status at provincial level, the Dalkey side strode confidently into the 2015 Leinster club SHC decider after winning their first Dublin title in 21 years, and they were fancied to repeat Crumlin's heroics of 1979.

In their way stood an Oulart-The Ballagh side crippled by final heartbreak, but it was the Wexford champions who finally made it seventh time lucky in Leinster deciders as Cuala were left behind in the stalls ruing their slow start.

That stuck in Cuala's craw, and 12 months later they made amends when confidently swatting aside O'Loughlin Gaels - "righting a few of those wrongs" was their main motivation, according to defender Cian O'Callaghan.

"We felt like there was a lot of unfinished business in 2015," O'Callaghan says.

"We've definitely come on as a team. We met at the start of the year and we said we just wanted to win the Dublin championship to give us a chance to go back and right a few of those wrongs.

"We were nearly caught up in ourselves (in 2015) so much. . . we had all this momentum and we thought that we didn't even have to work for the final possibly. We just said we have to work so hard in every match we play this year."

The 13-week wait to play Slaughtneil in the semi-finals was negotiated with ease as Cuala became the first team from the capital to reach the decider.

O'Callaghan (23), whose younger brother Con has been lighting up the club championship, hitting 7-13 from play since being introduced late in their county final win, is revelling Cuala's achievements for a "traditionally quite a small club in a strong rugby area".

The UCD student admits he only starting off hurling in Cuala as a child "because we got a Lucozade and a packet of crisps" but they stand on the brink of glory when they face Ballyea in today's decider (3.0).

And having waited a year to put their previous final loss to bed, they'll be keen to go all the way and finish the job.

Irish Independent

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