Thursday 8 December 2016

Dual star O'Callaghan scores for fun to stun poor Borris

Leinster club SHC quarter-final: Cuala 4-16 Borris/Kilc' 1-14

Published 07/11/2016 | 02:30

Cuala's Con O'Callaghan celebrates scoring his side's second goal. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Cuala's Con O'Callaghan celebrates scoring his side's second goal. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Dublin's propensity for producing brilliant dual forwards was underlined yet again at Parnell Park yesterday, as Con O'Callaghan plundered 4-3 to propel the Cuala hurlers into the last-four of the AIB Leinster Club SHC.

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Not that Ger Cunningham will benefit any day soon from O'Callaghan's small-ball prowess.

"I wouldn't close any doors ever - but at the moment I'm going to focus on football," he declared, after his one-man demolition job on the first-time Laois champions Borris-in-Ossory/Kilcotton.

"Once I get back with Dublin I'll focus on football.

"I still have an U-21 campaign left and hopefully I'll push on with the seniors."

O'Callaghan - who was central to Dublin's Leinster U-21 FC success back in the spring -has just landed an All-Ireland SFC medal in his first year with Jim Gavin's squad, following the lead of fellow dual stars Ciarán Kilkenny and Cormac Costello who have concentrated on football at county level.

Con O'Callaghan scores his side's first goal. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Con O'Callaghan scores his side's first goal. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Following his belated return to the Cuala hurlers, he was only a sub for their county final win over Kilmacud Crokes and was a late call-up yesterday for the injured Nicky Kenny.

Maybe that explains why Borris/Kilcotton looked so ill-prepared for the former Dublin minor.

"His movement was unbelievable, he headed for goals every time," admitted their manager, Ken Hogan.

"The first quarter of an hour we were all at sea. Fortress Parnell Park like - we were just caught in the lights," Hogan noted.

Cuala's Con O'Callaghan in action against Brian Stapleton of Borris-Kilcotton. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Cuala's Con O'Callaghan in action against Brian Stapleton of Borris-Kilcotton. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

And how Cuala capitalised. When O'Callaghan struck his second goal in the 10th minute, they led 2-4 to 0-1 and the game was as good as dead.

They continued to lord matters around the middle-third, allowing O'Callaghan, Cian Waldron (who finished with 0-4) and David Treacy (mostly from frees) to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

O'Callaghan outfielded Steven Finan to complete his hat-trick inside 30 minutes, and they led 3-11 to 0-6 at the midpoint.

Even though Borris/Kilcotton battled bravely to outscore Cuala in the second half, there was never the remotest possibility of a comeback - especially after O'Callaghan's 40th-minute solo burst culminated in his fourth goal of the afternoon.

Patrick Whelan landed a last-gasp consolation goal for the Laois champions, despite the protestations of 'keeper Seán Brennan who claimed he had been impeded, as Cuala eased into the semis with 11 points to spare.

They will now hit the road, facing St Mullins in Carlow on Sunday week.

SCORERS - Cuala: Con O'Callaghan 4-3, D Treacy 0-6 (5f), C Waldron 0-4, J Sheanon, C Cronin, C Sheanon 0-1 each. Borris/Kilcotton: PJ Scully 0-6 (5f, 1 sideline cut), P Whelan 1-2, D Fitzpatrick, A Dunphy 0-2 each, N Foyle, J Campion 0-1 each.

CUALA - S Brennan; O Gough, Cian O'Callaghan, S Timlin; S Moran, P Schutte, J Sheanon; J Malone, D O'Connell; S Treacy, C Cronin, D Treacy; M Schutte, Con O'Callaghan, C Waldron. Subs: S Stapleton for D Treacy (45), C Sheanon for Waldron (50), R Tierney for Timlin (54), B Fitzgerald for Con O'Callaghan (54), N Waldron for S Treacy (59).

BORRIS/KILCOTTON - E Fleming; S Finan, B Stapleton, N Delaney; C Stapleton, M Whelan, J Fitzpatrick; P Whelan, D Fitzpatrick; D Quinlan, J Campion, S Dunphy; N Foyle, A Dunphy, PJ Scully. Subs: C Kilbane for Delaney (23), S Phelan for Quinlan (h-t), B Meade for Finan (43), E Fitzpatrick for S Dunphy (43).

REF - P O'Dwyer (Carlow)

Irish Independent

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