Dublin SHC Final: Cuala show character
Dublin SHC Final
CUALA 1-18 ST BRIGID'S 1-14
By Paul Keane at Parnell Park
Powerhouse Dublin outfit Cuala are back on the Leinster club SHC title trail after digging deep at Parnell Park to claim their seventh county title.
Having registered 3-21 and 3-18 tallies in their previous knock-out games, the 2017 and 2018 All-Ireland winners came out on top in a much lower scoring war of attrition this time.
David Treacy led the scoring for the Dalkey side with a dozen points, all from placed balls, while football superstar Con O'Callaghan blazed their goal after just three minutes.
O'Callaghan was injured in the process of scoring the three-pointer and left the field shortly after with Willie Maher's side forced to battle without their talisman.
St Brigid's, chasing a first ever title, were given little hope and were rocked by that early goal but fought back to level terms on three occasions.
There was still nothing between them with 38 minutes played but Cuala came good when it truly counted, opening up a six-point advantage at one stage in the final quarter.
Cuala advance to play the Carlow representatives in the provincial club championship in a fortnight but it remains to be seen if they'll have O'Callaghan available after his injury.
Following returns of 0-5 and 2-3, all from play, from his previous two starts for Cuala, he was their dangerman and duly delivered again within minutes of the throw in.
Brigid's defender Donnacha Ryan was detailed to man mark the Footballer of the Year nominee though was left in his slipstream as O'Callaghan raced cleared for a terrific fourth minute goal.
The attacker turned his man and strode clear down the left before firing across the goalkeeper for the opening score of the game.
But O'Callaghan suffered an apparent injured thigh after colliding with the leg of goalkeeper Alan Nolan and received treatment for several minutes before being substituted.
Cuala had the opportunity to double their advantage when Mark Schutte was clear in the seventh minute but county goalkeeper Nolan made a great stop for Brigid's.
The save, allied to O'Callaghan's exit, appeared to energise Brigid's who improved as the half wore on and slowly but surely reeled in Cuala to finally draw level just before the break at 1-4 to 0-7.
It was far from the plain sailing predicted by many beforehand for Cuala with the favourites registering just one point from play in the half following O'Callaghan's goal.
Brigid's were more than happy to scrap for it and four of their seven first-half points also came from frees, courtesy of Winters.
Brigid's, crucially, never actually led though were always on Cuala's coattails and fought back from a six-point deficit thanks mainly to Keith Mullally's 49th minute goal.
The Blanchardstown outfit reduced their arrears to one point with 57 minutes on the clock but lost full-forward Kevin Callaghan to a straight red card.
Cuala took full advantage in the closing stages and outscored Brigid's by 0-4 to 0-1 to win with some to spare.
Scorers for Cuala: David Treacy 0-12 (12fs), Con O'Callaghan 1-0, Sean Moran 0-2, Jake Malone 0-1, Darragh O'Connell 0-1 (f), Nicky Kenny 0-1, Colum Sheanon 0-1.
Scorers for St Brigid's: Paul Winters 0-7 (7fs), Keith Mullally 1-1, Johnny McGuirk 0-2, Cian O'Sullivan 0-1, Daire Plunkett 0-1, Luke Purtill 0-1, Eoghan Dunne 0-1 (s/l).
CUALA: Sean Brennan; Diarmaid O Floinn, Cian O'Callaghan, Simon Timlin; Oisin Gough, Paul Schutte, Sean Moran; Colum Sheanon, Sean Treacy; Jake Malone, Colm Cronin, Darragh O'Connell; David Treacy, Mark Schutte, Con O'Callaghan.
Subs: Nicky Kenny for Con O'Callaghan (7-f/t), John Sheanon for O Floinn (h/t), Liam Murphy for Kenny (61), Naoise Waldron for Malone (63).
ST BRIGID'S: Alan Nolan; Mark Kavanagh, Donnacha Ryan, Eoghan McKeigue; Andy Dunphy, Daire Plunkett, Jack O'Neill; Keith Mullally, Cathal Doyle; Ciaran Kellett, Eoghan Dunne, Paul Winters; Kevin Callaghan, Cian O'Sullivan, Johnny McGuirk.
Subs: Luke Purtill for McKeigue (23), James O'Connell for Kellett (44).
REFEREE: Thomas Gleeson (Naomh Fionnbarra).