Cuala Progress After Close Call Against Brigid’s
Cuala 3-14 – 2-15 St. Brigid’s
Brigid’s came very close to defying the bookies odds and securing a huge upset against Cuala this afternoon in O’Toole Park.
Heavy rain before the game lead to slippery conditions and St Brigid’s looked the hungrier side from the start.
This hunger was typified in the sixth minute as Eoghan Dunne showed great effort to drive in along the Cuala end-line before squaring the ball, where Cian O Sullivan finished to an empty net.
Both sides were reduced to fourteen men in the ninth minute when Cuala’s John Sheanan and Brigids’ Paul Winters where shown red for an off the ball incident.
With O Sullivan deputising well for Winters from frees, Brigid’s continued to impress.
However their policy of leaving Con O’Callaghan one-on-one up front was punished in both the eighteenth and 26th minutes as O ‘Callaghan showed his lethal nose for goal.
This left the score-line at 2-6 to 1-8 at half time.
Cuala would score only one point from play in the first 25 minutes of the second half as Brigid’s continued to dominate, looking like they might cause an upset which would cause shock-waves throughout the country’s club hurling scene.
Having re-opened a two point lead going into the final ten minutes, however, St Brigid’s clearly began to tire.
Incessant running from Cuala’s half time substitutes, Darragh O’Connell and Mark Schutte, began to cause significant trouble for the Brigid’s defence.
A David Treacy free followed by a Jake Malone point in the 55th and 56th minutes would bring the All-Ireland champions back level, entering the final stages.
After Cuala got their noses in front, Brigid’s would miss the opportunity to equalise a minute into injury time when they failed to convert a free.
With Cuala clearly having the upper hand in terms of fitness in the latter stages, deep running right down the centre by Cuala saw Seán Treacy net in the 62nd minute to put Cuala four in front.
Cuala were five in front, deep into injury time, when a high ball into the Cuala square was struck cleanly, possibly by John O Laughlin, possibly by Eoghan Dunne, amongst a group of players, to bring the gap back to two.
However, the resulting puck out saw the final whistle and bitter disappointment for St Brigid’s who had come so close to causing an upset few would have expected.
Cuala may breath a sigh of relief after this one as they move on to the semi final.
*full analysis to come*
By Conor Dunne