A brace of Con O'Callaghan goals inside the opening seven minutes helped Cuala avenge last year's semi-final defeat to Kilmacud Crokes as they confirmed their favourites tag with a dominant showing in Parnell Park yesterday afternoon.
All year, the Dalkey outfit have looked determined to regain their position of prominence within the county and nothing on show yesterday would contradict that impression
Despite opening up on the front foot through a brace of sublime Fergal Whitely points, Kilmacud were soon on the back foot as O'Callaghan powered his way through from the right flank in the fifth minute before unleashing a powerful shot past Matt Collins.
Two minutes later, the outcome was the same with a more improvised finish past the helpless Collins as O'Callaghan showed once again his importance to this Cuala team.
With the Crokes attack struggling to make an impact (none of their forwards scored from open play in the first half), they were thankful for the awarding of a dubious penalty in the 18th minute that was superbly converted by Eddie Gibbons.
However, the momentum remained with Cuala as Sean Treacy tidied up superbly around the middle third and they assumed control of matters thanks to points from Darragh O'Connell, Colum Sheanon and Colm Cronin to lead by 2-8 to 1-6 by the interval.
The second-half proved a procession for Cuala as they dominated each and every sector.
If there were any hopes within Kilmacud of an unlikely comeback, they were extinguished in the 44th minute as Jake Malone had the simplest of tasks in firing home from six yards.
scorers: Cuala: D Treacy 0-9 (6f, 1 '65), Con O'Callaghan 2-3, J Malone 1-0, D O' Connell 0-2, M Schutte, S Treacy, C Sheanon, C Cronin 0-1 each. Kilmacud Crokes: E Gibbons 1-6 (0-5f, 1-0 pen), F Whitely 0-3, L McMullen, R O'Carroll 0-1 each.
Cuala: S Brennan; O Gough, J Sheanon, Cian O'Callaghan; S Moran, P Schutte, D O'Flynn; S Treacy, C Sheanon; D O'Connell, C Cronin, J Malone; D Treacy, Con O'Callaghan, M Schutte. Subs: N Kenny for M Schutte (51), C Waldron for Malone (56), M Conroy for Cian O'Callaghan (56), N Waldron for Con O'Callaghan (59), K Kirwan for Cronin (59).
Kilmacud Crokes: M Collins; C O'Shea, C Mac Gabhann, B O'Carroll; N Corcoran, R O'Dwyer, M Grogan; L McMullen, F Whitely; R Hayes, E Gibbons, C Conway; O O'Rorke, S McGrath, F Ó Ceallaigh. Subs: S Veale for Ó Ceallaigh (26), A Considine for McGrath (ht), R O'Carroll for Hayes (45), D Butler for B O'Carroll (47), S Kinsella for Mac Gabhann (51).
REF: Chris Mooney (St Patrick's Palmerstown)