'No complaints' as Cuala beaten
CUALA'S provincial ambitions were ended in the bleak surrounds of St Conleth's Park, Newbridge as they succumbed to Monasterevin by 1-14 to 0-10 in their Leinster Club Intermediate Football Championship semi-final last Sunday afternoon.
It was a disappointing end to a long, arduous campaign for the Dalkey outfit but once the pain of Sunday's defeat ebbs slowly away, they can reflect on a very positive year with the prospect of senior championship football to look forward to in 2013.
Much of the damage was done in a five-minute period before the break as the Kildare intermediate champions punished some sloppy Cuala defending for the game's solitary goal and two ensuing frees left the Dubliners with a mountain to climb after the break.
That they were unable to do so was down to the well-drilled tactics deployed by their opponents with the absence through a hip injury of Cuala's captain Michael Fitzsimons another mitigating factor over the hour.
It was Monasterevan who started the brighter thanks to two frees by Kildare minor Wayne Fitzpatrick and by the end of the first quarter they led by 0-6 to 0-2 with Cuala struggling to break down a heavily manned defence.
However, they enjoyed a purple patch to register four points with both Paul Schutte and the impressive John Sheanon finding the target to restore parity by the 23rd minute.
The concession of the goal, particularly in its timing, was a body blow from which Cuala never truly recovered and they entered the interval with a deficit of 1-8 to 0-6 to overturn.
The second half saw both sides trade scores for a brief period but Cuala never managed to create the type of goal chance that may have reignited their flagging challenge and had to be content with points from Luke Keating and Sheanon.
The final margin of victory for Monasterevin was embellished by a brace of Fitzpatrick frees at the death with Cuala manager Derek Dunne in reflective mood as he assessed his team's defeat.
"In fairness, we were beaten by the better team on the day and we can have no complaints about the result.
"We never really got going and we found their defensive system very hard to break down and Mick's (Fitzsimons) pace was a big loss in that respect and we just didn't click on the day against a very well-organised team.
"However, the main objective at the start of the year was to Intermediate Championship and get into the Dublin Senior Football Championship and we managed to achieve that.
"Being in Leinster was very much a bonus but having said that, it is always very disappointing to lose in a semi-final and we would have loved to have made the final and take our chances in that," said Dunne.