O'Callaghan drives Cuala past Dicksboro
AIB Leinster Club Senior Hurling Championship quarter-final
CUALA (Dublin) 2-20 DICKSBORO (Kilkenny) 1-16
By Paul Keane at Parnell Park
A brilliant year for Cuala, and Con O'Callaghan in particular, shows no sign of ending any time soon with another impressive win for the AIB All-Ireland club hurling title holders at Parnell Park.
O'Callaghan, fresh from being named a PwC All-Star and Young Footballer of the Year on Friday night, helped himself to 1-3 during a five-star display.
The dual ace also set up Jake Malone's for Cuala's first goal and was involved in several more scores for his team-mates during the seven-point provincial quarter-final success.
Cuala were without former Dublin hurling forward Mark Schutte who sat in the stand with a protective boot on his left foot.
But they had more than enough scoring power to take care of the Kilkenny champions and David Treacy scored 0-9, 0-8 from frees, while Colm Cronin scored 0-3 from play.
Mattie Kenny's Cuala will now play St Martin's of Wexford in the AIB Leinster semi-finals on November 19.
O'Callaghan lit up last year's provincial campaign with 6-10 in the competition and was eventually named Leinster club Player of the Year.
He opened his latest campaign with similar gusto and was involved in several excellent early moves as the hosts pulled the Dicksboro defence asunder.
O'Callaghan scored a sixth minute point and then slipped away from his marker, Evan Cody, in the ninth minute before a blasting a shot just beyond the right upright.
Treacy and Nicky Kenny were also on the mark as Cuala opened up a 0-4 to 0-1 advantage.
O'Callaghan surged clear again in the 16th minute after a clever reverse pass on the right wing by Colum Sheanon.
O'Callaghan's shot was partially blocked this time but the ball popped up kindly for Malone to hammer in for a Cuala goal.
That put Cuala 1-4 to 0-2 up and in a strong position. Dicksboro improved in the second quarter though and the sides shared 12 points evenly in this period, leaving Cuala 1-10 to 0-8 up at the break.
Treacy finished the first-half with six points, all from frees, while Kerry man and county midfielder Darragh O'Connell popped over a neat score.
Robbie Murphy was on the mark for Dicksboro and doubled his tally with the opening score of the second-half, bringing the margin down to just four points now.
Experienced Kilkenny defender Cillian Buckley was moved from centre-back to full-back during the first-half to keep tabs on O'Callaghan.
O'Callaghan sped away from Buckley in the 36th minute and slotted a fine point from the left wing.
It was the first of four Cuala scores that put daylight between the sides again and O'Callaghan's 45th minute goal all but sealed the win.
He didn't have to do much this time as a combination of Kenny, Sean Treacy and Malone combined down the left to play him in for a close range finish.
Shane Stapleton was Dicksboro's chief scoring outlet from placed balls but substitute Stephen Farrell pulled back a late consolation goal.
Scorers for Cuala: David Treacy 0-9 (0-8f), Con O'Callaghan 1-3, Jake Malone 1-0, Colm Cronin 0-3, Nicky Kenny 0-2, Niall Carty 0-2, Darragh O'Connell 0-1.
Scorers for Dicksboro: Shane Stapleton 0-8 (0-5f, 3 65), Stephen Farrell 1-0, Oisin Gough 0-2, Eoin Gough 0-2, Robbie Murphy 0-2, Martin Gaffney 0-1, Ollie Walsh 0-1.
CUALA: Sean Brennan; Simon Timlin, Cian O'Callaghan, Oisin Gough; Paul Schutte, Sean Moran, John Sheanon; Darragh O'Connell, Sean Treacy; Colum Sheanon, David Treacy, Jake Malone; Nicky Kenny, Con O'Callaghan, Colm Cronin. Subs: Niall Carty for Kenny (53), Cian Waldron for Colum Sheanon (55).
DICKSBORO: Darragh Holohan; Michael Fagan, Evan Cody, Conor Doheny; Thomas Kenny, Cillian Buckley, Aidan Nolan; Ollie Walsh, Robbie Fitzpatrick; Shane Stapleton, Eoin Gough, Robbie Murphy; Oisin Gough, Martin Gaffney, Bill Sheehan. Subs: Stephen Farrell for Eoin Gough (44), Kevin Kenny for Murphy (44), Paul O'Flynn for Nolan (55).
Ref: Patrick Murphy (Carlow).