herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Cuala's attack is something to salivate over

O'Callaghan and Cronin goal threat for St Mullin's

Cuala’s Con O’Callaghan who scored all four goals for his side, in action during the Leinster SHC Club quarter-final against Borris-Kilcotton at Parnell Park. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Cuala’s Con O’Callaghan who scored all four goals for his side, in action during the Leinster SHC Club quarter-final against Borris-Kilcotton at Parnell Park. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Just at a time when Dublin hurling could do with a little lift (in an era when prolific, goal-scoring forwards aren't exactly falling out of trees) Con O'Callaghan goes and bags a sackful against Borris-Kilcotton in Cuala's first toe-dip into Leinster combat this year.

For context, the Laois champions looked wholly unprepared for their trip to Parnell Park to play a team that not only had much more recent experience of winning a county title but also a losing provincial final appearance to cajole them.

But still, O'Callaghan's display was awesome.

Raw

"I think he said he was a bit raw the last day, and what did he score? 4-3 or something," his Cuala and Dublin football team mate, Mick Fitzsimons pointed out yesterday.

Cuala are already bejewelled with high-grade county talent.

Cian O'Callaghan, Oisín Gough and Paul Schutte could conceivably form the Dublin full-back line at some stage next year.

"They're some of the best in the game," Dublin defender, Eoghan O'Donnell told the Herald.

"I don't think I've ever heard anyone not sigh or give out when they're told they're marking Paul Schutte.

"He's a great talker. He's a great communicator. Cian O'Callaghan is one of the toughest full-backs in the country.

"My bet is on Cuala to go much further."

There's more.

Darragh O'Connell has become essential to Ger Cunningham's ideas of mobility around the middle eight of the Dublin team.

But in O'Callaghan and Colm Cronin, Cuala have a couple of attackers the Dublin manager would love to get his hands on.

Cronin shone in the county final and his eye for goal and penetrative running would make him an asset of the county team were it not for the medical studies he is currently undertaking.

Ditto O'Callaghan, were it not for football.

Throw in David Treacy, Seán Treacy and Mark Schutte and you've got an attack to salivate over.

"It's a tough thing to do. It's winter hurling. It's mucky," O'Donnell outlined.

"You have to be a tough side, but you also have to have to have the same finesse as well.

"And I think Cuala are well-rounded enough to do it. They have Seán Moran, who came on this year.

"Mark Schutte is a great player and you saw Con O'Callaghan the last day - they just have an abundance of talent."

They also have the experience and motivation to go on.

This year was St Mullin's third Carlow final in a row, though their most recent Leinster display - a 12-point loss to Clonkill - suggests they could be out of their depth.

ODDS: St Mullin's 5/1, Draw 11/1, Cuala 1/7

VERDICT: Cuala

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