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Friday 2 December 2016

Cuala on top in shoot-out with Boden

Schutte and Treacy star in semi win despite Paul Ryan's scoring heroics

Cuala’s Cian Waldron is chased by Ballyboden’s Matty Weldon during the Dublin SHC ‘A’ semi-final in Parnell Park
Cuala’s Cian Waldron is chased by Ballyboden’s Matty Weldon during the Dublin SHC ‘A’ semi-final in Parnell Park

Given the density and variation of talent they now possess, it's probably inevitable that Cuala win a Dublin SHC in the near future.

Less certain was whether they had it in them this year to get past the pre-eminent team of the decade, Ballyboden St Enda's, yet the supremacy of their performance in exactly that scenario in Parnell Park yesterday was unquestionable.

The three points Cuala won by says nothing of their dominance.

In a match, as rich in quality as you're likely to see in club hurling, Mattie Kenny's team were almost always (one shaky period in the second half aside) the ruling power.

Monumental

This was a monumental win for them, given they have just one final appearance and no title since 1994 and now face either St Jude's or Lucan Sarsfields in this year's decider.

They did it despite a truly virtuoso display from Paul Ryan, who hit 1-17 (five points from play) for Boden, yet had only a paucity of backup from the rest of his forwards.

Ryan didn't miss one, bar a speculative sideline cut in the first half.

But Cuala just had more about them.

In David Treacy, they had a man in a similar vein of free-taking form, missing just one from 13 attempts and clipping a couple of fine points from play too.

Yet he wasn't even Cuala's most influential forward.

That gong went to Mark Schutte, who - in a break-out season with club and county - luxuriated in the space he was granted by his fellow inside forwards when they routinely evacuated the space inside 'Boden's '21, scoring six points from play in the process and unlucky too not to have scored a batted second half goal.

Further back, Cian O'Callaghan and Seán Moran had huge games too and at half-time and 0-14 to 0-9 up, it looked strikingly as though Cuala's superiority would be more pronounced thereafter.

Ballyboden had a five-minute spell that threatened to unspool all that good work, though.

Ryan smashed what was a soft penalty in a run of an unanswered 1-3 for Boden and thus, they got within two, despite a largely frustrated performance to that point.

All Cuala had to do, though, was get the ball to Mark Schutte in space and he finished the game like a train.

Each time Ryan struck, Cuala replied in kind and even with the likes of Conal Keaney and 'Dosty' O'Callaghan lurking, 'Boden couldn't find the goal that might have saved them.

Cuala's win was only fitting though.

SCORERS - Cuala: D Treacy 0-14 (12f), M Schutte 0-6, C Cronin 0-3, S Moran 0-2, N Kenny, B Connolly 0-1 each. Ballyboden: P Ryan 1-17 (1-o pen, 0-12f), S Durkin, D Curtin, D O'Connor, F McGarry 0-1 each.

CUALA: S Brennan; S Timlin, C O'Callaghan, R Tierney; S Stapleton, P Schutte, S Moran; D O'Connell, O Gough; C Waldron, C Cronin, N Kenny; D Treacy, M Schutte, S Treacy. Subs: J Sheanon for Tierney (h-t), B Connolly for Kenny (42).

BALLYBODEN: G Maguire; K Wigglesworth, D Curran, S O'Connor; S Hiney, S Lambert, J Madden; S Durkin, N McMorrow; D Curtin, P Ryan, C McCormack; D O'Connor, C Keaney, C O'Neill. Subs: F McGarry for Curtin (34), D O'Callaghan for McCormack (36), M Weldon for Madden (45), E O'Neill for C O'Neill (48).

REF: A Keating (Setanta)

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