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Cool Cuala comeback pips Fins at the post

Cuala were deserving winners of the Dublin U16 'A' Football Championship Shield Final when overcoming Fingallians by 0-10 to 1-4 at Lawless Park last Saturday afternoon.

The visitors started brightly and enjoyed a 0-6 to 0-1 interval advantage and despite a brave Fingallians comeback in the second half, the Dalkey lads finished in the ascendancy to claim a merited three-point success.

The hosts will rue four poor wides in the early exchanges that undermined their lively opening, with a far more economical Cuala team opening up a lead through points from Justin Byrne and Gavin Hartnett.

Mark Cullen finally registered the hosts' first score of the game in the 10th minute but an excellent Cuala defence, in which Donal Lynch, Jack Harte, Andrew Power and captain Dara Callopy shone, kept Fingallians scoreless for the remainder of the half.

Given their dominance, with Jack Flynn showing well at midfield, Cuala were allowed to build up a healthy advantage with the excellent Dara Spillane pointing to ensure his side a five-point interval lead.

SPIRITED

Fingallians, coached by Dublin senior Paul Flynn, showed much of the All-Star's fighting qualities when launching a spirited comeback upon the restart with Robbie Martin pointing in the 32nd minute before notching up a goal a minute later.

A TJ Howard free levelled matters in the 37th minute and the hosts could well have taken the lead, but Cuala goalkeeper James Bailey made a stunning save to deny Eoin Brady what looked a certain goal.

That save seemed to inspire the visitors and despite the best efforts of Alex Smith, Derek Rogers and Sean Hickey, the hosts only managed a solitary score through Shane Howard as Cuala confirmed a deserved win with Darragh Twomey playing a starring role at centre-forward.

"It was a good match and I was happy that the lads showed great character when Fingallians came at us in the second half," said Cuala mentor John Paul Byrne.

"It was good to win, despite the disappointment of being knocked out of the championship."


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