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Cuala v Na Piarsaigh - AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Club Championship Final replay

24 March 2018; Mark Schutte of Cuala celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Club Championship Final replay match between Cuala and Na Piarsaigh at O'Moore Park in Portlaoise, Laois. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Cuala crowned two-in-a-row AIB All-Ireland Club SHC champions

AIB All-Ireland Club SHC Final replay

CUALA (DUBLIN) 2-17 NA PIARSAIGH (LIMERICK) 1-17 By Paul Keane at O'Moore Park, Portlaoise

Dublin's Cuala showed all their courage and character in Portlaoise where they conjured four late points in a row to retain their AIB All-Ireland club hurling crown in stunning style.

The Dalkey outfit looked in real danger of relinquishing their title when they let slip a six point lead with 20 minutes to go to trail by one approaching injury-time.

But when the need was greatest their key men stood up and dual star Con O'Callaghan, experienced free-taker David Treacy,  and key forward Mark Schutte pinched the scores to secure a famous win.

O'Callaghan hit the 60th minute point that levelled the game for the eighth time, won an injury-time free that Treacy converted and also laid off for Schutte to hit the last score of the game.

There was another Treacy free conversion in there too as Mattie Kenny's men turned the screw in remarkable fashion to make it back to back titles.

Treacy scored 0-9 in total while Schutte finished with 1-2 and scored a brilliant goal in the 39th minute, shortly after Nicky Kenny had hit the net, to open up that six-point advantage.

But 2016 winners Na Piarsaigh showed their own resolve to fight back and wipe out the deficit with time almost up, David Breen igniting the comeback with a 50th minute goal.

Cuala had the final say though and will go down now in history as the only Dublin club to have not just one All-Ireland but two.

Football All-Star O'Callaghan was surprisingly quiet in the drawn game, scoring just one point which arrived in extra-time.

Mike Casey had a terrific game on him at Croke Park though Alan Dempsey, Na Piarsaigh's sweeper in the stalemate, picked up the 21-year-old.

Casey eventually moved onto O'Callaghan after 10 minutes and their intriguing head to head resumed.

O'Callaghan evaded Casey in the 23rd minute for a point and was then fouled by the defender for a free that Treacy converted.

Treacy scored 12 points last weekend, all from placed balls, and had a 100 per cent record.

He scored five first-half points this time, four of which came from frees, though also fired two wides.

Cuala took a slender 0-10 to 0-9 lead at half-time though it was another tight, tense tussle that always looked like going to the wire.

The sides were level three times up to 0-4 apiece when the Dalkey outfit surged two points clear, a lead they'd hold onto for the majority of the game.

Cuala scored four points without reply between the 13th and 18th minutes though struggled to contain Adrian Breen who kept the Munster champions in touch with some excellent scores.

Breen nailed four first-half points and hit back to back points before the interval.

Cuala's cause wasn't helped by the loss of captain and defender Paul Schutte who aggravated a hamstring injury.

Tipperary man Shane Stapleton replaced him while Mattie Kenny came on in attack for Colum Sheanon.

Cuala were forced to make a third substitute a minute into the second-half and it was a big loss as defender Casey went off with an apparent injury.

Cuala's goals, both of which came in the 39th minute, turned the game on its head as Kenny firstly punished a poor pass in the Na Piarsaigh defence before Schutte netted after a terrific solo run.

Suddenly Cuala led 2-11 to 0-11 and looked to be in pole position to retain their crown with some to spare.

But Na Piarsaigh were at the very best in the final quarter and forced the Leinster outfit to dig as deep as they possibly could in that gripping finale few minutes.

Scorers for Cuala: David Treacy 0-9 (0-7f, 1 65), Mark Schutte 1-2, Nicky Kenny 1-0, Con O'Callaghan 0-2, John Sheanon 0-1, Darragh O'Connell 0-1, Sean Moran 0-1, Jake Malone 0-1.

Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: Adrian Breen 0-5, Shane Dowling 0-5 (0-4f), David Breen 1-0, Kevin Downes 0-2, Peter Casey 0-2, Jerome Boylan 0-1, Gordon Brown 0-1, David Dempsey 0-1

CUALA: Sean Brennan; Simon Timlin, Cian O'Callaghan, Oisin Gough; Paul Schutte, Sean Moran, John Sheanon; Darragh O'Connell, Sean Treacy; David Treacy, Colm Cronin, Jake Malone; Con O'Callaghan, Mark Schutte, Colum Sheanon. *Subs: *Nicky Kenny for Colum Sheanon (25), Shane Stapleton for Paul Schutte (28).

NA PIARSAIGH: Podge Kennedy; Niall Buckley, Mike Casey, Alan Dempsey; Jerome Boylan, Cathal King, Kieran Kennedy; William O'Donoghue, David Dempsey; Shane Dowling, Ronan Lynch, David Breen; Adrian Breen, Kevin Downes, Peter Casey. Subs: Tommy Grimes for M Casey (31), Conor Boylan for Lynch (40), Gordon Brown for Buckley (41), Mikey Foley for Jerome Boylan (59).

Referee: Paud O'Dwyer (Carlow).

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