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Paul Curran’s Cuala prove clinical in SFC2 clash against Naomh Mearnóg

Dublin SFC 2

Cuala 4-18

Naomh Mearnóg 1-13

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Cuala: (back row, l-r) James Power, Enda Kelly, Michael Fitzsimons, Con O'Callaghan, Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne, Diarmúid Ó Floinn, Jack Flynn, Philip Greene and Brian Smight; (front row, l-r) Michael Conroy, Conor Mullaly, Conor O'Brien, Luke Keating, David

Cuala: (back row, l-r) James Power, Enda Kelly, Michael Fitzsimons, Con O'Callaghan, Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne, Diarmúid Ó Floinn, Jack Flynn, Philip Greene and Brian Smight; (front row, l-r) Michael Conroy, Conor Mullaly, Conor O'Brien, Luke Keating, David

NAOMH MEARNÓG: (back row, l-r) Ciaran Mac Fheaghusa, Frank Doyle, Rory O'Loughlin, Fintan O'Connor, Oisín Taylor, Aodán Fee, Eoin Kelly, Marcus Fitzmaurice and Karl Lynch Bissett; (front row, l-r) Matthew Shortall, Dara O'Boyle, Darren Byrne, Michael Gibbs

NAOMH MEARNÓG: (back row, l-r) Ciaran Mac Fheaghusa, Frank Doyle, Rory O'Loughlin, Fintan O'Connor, Oisín Taylor, Aodán Fee, Eoin Kelly, Marcus Fitzmaurice and Karl Lynch Bissett; (front row, l-r) Matthew Shortall, Dara O'Boyle, Darren Byrne, Michael Gibbs

Cualla's Con O'Callaghan takes possession ahead of Naomh Mearnóg's Frank Doyle during their Dublin SFC2 clash at Hyde Park

Cualla's Con O'Callaghan takes possession ahead of Naomh Mearnóg's Frank Doyle during their Dublin SFC2 clash at Hyde Park

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Cuala: (back row, l-r) James Power, Enda Kelly, Michael Fitzsimons, Con O'Callaghan, Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne, Diarmúid Ó Floinn, Jack Flynn, Philip Greene and Brian Smight; (front row, l-r) Michael Conroy, Conor Mullaly, Conor O'Brien, Luke Keating, David

THE Hyde Park terrace was teeming. The Cuala Kop back dancing. Saturday night in the village. In the distance, there was the crackle of fireworks.

It’s great to see the crowds back at the matches. And I think they got good entertainment tonight,” reflected Cuala selector Enda McGowan.

It was Cuala’s second win from two in Group 2 of the Dublin Senior 2 Football Championship. They beat St Maur’s in their first game and they’ll conclude the group away to St Peregrine’s.

Paul Curran is managing Cuala. One of the most celebrated half-backs of all. He would have been impressed with the visitors’ half-back department.

In the opening seconds, Mearnóg left half-back Matthew Shortall sent over the first point of the hour. He was one of the most impressive players on the pitch. And just before the close, his goal effort was foiled by the home ‘keeper, Philip Greene, the Sligo champion.

Matthew’s half-back colleagues could also feel pleased with their night’s work. Aodán Fee made some surging runs and he struck two lovely first-half points, while Oisín Taylor scored one of the best points of the contest as he burst forward to loft over deep in the second period.

The Portmarnock club defeated St Peregrine’s in their first game and now they’ll prepare for their trip to Maur’s. “That’s our focus now,” stated Mearnóg’s Ciarán Wrynne. “We created chances. Cuala played with such intensity. Their Dublin lads were brilliant for them. We battled well and I felt the final scoreline didn’t do justice to the effort of our fellas.”

Cuala’s last two goals didn’t arrive until the good folk of Dalkey were about to pull the curtains. The hosts used the ball well. And they had such speed in the legs. And the hands. They were running from deep. They were running from everywhere.

So many of their moves began in the back kitchen. “I felt the kick-outs from Philip Greene were top class,” remarked Enda McGowan.

The former Sligo ‘keeper took a 45 after the interval. If his namesake was in the commentary box, he would have called it all the way home. Cuala’s corner-forward, Luke Keating, also knew where the posts were. He struck a basket of scores, including a couple from the Milk Tray box. And any chance they got, Cuala drove for the posts. It was tough work trying to contain them.

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Cuala’s centre half-back, Michael Conroy, was outstanding. Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne and Brian Smith formed a productive and energetic midfield. One of the duel’s highlights was Ó Cofaigh Byrne’s slice of skill as he dispossessed an opponent with a splendidly timed one-handed tackle. Curraner would have approved.

Cuala were ahead by 2-9 to 0-8 at half-time. Ó Cofaigh Byrne had the ball in the Mearnóg net at the road end after just two minutes.

And on 14 minutes, following another blistering exchange of passes, Con O’Callaghan palmed in Cuala’s second goal.

Mearnóg were seeing plenty of the ball. And they worked some promising openings. The strong breeze didn’t make it easy to find the pockets.

Their number 15, Karl Lynch Bissett, had quality in the laces. He scored a superb point in the first quarter. Cuala also hit some gems. A Keating point among them, while Niall O’Callaghan’s point was also from the School of Music.

In stoppage time, Jamie Keenan palmed in Cuala’s third goal, and right on the last whistle, Keating was in the right place at the right time to tuck away the fourth. 

SCORERS – CUALA: L Keating 1-6 (2f), C O’Callaghan 1-4 (0-2f), P Ó Cofaigh Byrne, J Keenan 1-0 each, C Mullally 0-3, N O’Callaghan 0-2, D Ó Floinn, C O’Brien, P Greene (45) 0-1 each.

NAOMH MEARNÓG: S Kavanagh 1-1, A Fee, M Shortall, M Gibbs, K Lynch Bissett 0-2 each, O Taylor, F O’Connor, M Phelan, C Archer 0-1 each.

CUALA: P Greene; D Sheerin, M Fitzsimons, E Kelly; D Ó Floinn, M Conroy, C Mullally; P Ó Cofaigh Byrne, B Smith; J Power, C O’Callaghan, J Flynn; L Keating, N O’Callaghan, C O’Brien. SUBS ON: C Ó Giolláin, L Tracey, J Keenan, E O’Callaghan, N James.

NAOMH MEARNÓG: M Fitzmaurice; E Kelly, F Doyle, R O’Loughlin; O Taylor, A Fee, M Shortall; C Mac Fhearghusa, F O’Connor; D O’Boyle, D Byrne, T Cosgrove; M Phelan, M Gibbs, K Lynch Bissett. SUBS ON: S Kavanagh, C Ryan, C Archer, A Hughes.

MENTORS – CUALA: P Curran, G Killian, E McGowan. NAOMH MEARNÓG: J Gahan, C Wrynne, M Grant, C O’Driscoll, C O’Connor.

REFEREE: D Murphy (St James’s Gaels/An Caislean).

WIDES – Cuala: 7 (2+5); NAOMH MEARNÓG: 8 (7+1).

CONDITIONS: Cool breeze.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Luke Keating (Cuala).


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