All-Ireland club SHC final: Ballyea no match for classy Cuala

March 17, 2017

Cuala's Jake Malone scores a goal against Ballyea.
©INPHO/Tommy Dickson.

Cuala (Dublin) 2-19

Ballyea (Clare) 1-10

Cuala have become the first Dublin winners of the Tommy Moore Cup after goals in either half from Colm Cronin and Jake Malone helped them to an impressive victory over Ballyea at Croke Park.

Leading by 1-7 to 0-4 at half-time after playing with the wind, the Dalkey outfit saw their lead reduced to four points in the 50th minute when Niall Deasy netted for the Clare men. But they showed their class by responding with an unanswered 1-5 in the time remaining to run out emphatic winners. Euphoric scenes followed when Cuala captain Oisin Gough climbed the steps of the Hogan Stand to raise the All-Ireland SHC silverware.

Kerry man Darragh O'Connell was the game's standout performer with three points from midfield, while alongside him John Sheanon held former Hurler of the Year Tony Kelly scoreless on a day when Cuala won most of the individual battles. David Treacy top-scored with 0-9 and Dublin senior footballer Con O'Callaghan hit two points from full forward,and also had a hand in both goals, including the opener from Cronin after 15 minutes.

The centre forward's sweet finish to the right-hand corner of the net after O'Callaghan had broken Sheanon's long ball propelled the winners into a 1-2 to 0-1 lead and they never looked like losing after that. Ballyea responded with points from Niall Deasy and James Murphy before four unanswered scores from Treacy (two frees), O'Connell and Sheanon gave the Dublin and Leinster champions a six-point buffer at the break.

After Pearse Lillis had missed a glorious goal chance for Ballyea at the start of the second half, Treacy drilled over another couple of frees and O'Callaghan also found the target to extend Cuala's lead to 1-12 to 0-7 by the 41st minute.

Points from another dual star, Gary Brennan, and Lillis gave the Clare men hope before Niall Deasy collected a crossfield pass from Lillis and fired to the net to leave just four points in it with 10 minutes to go. 

However, Darragh O'Connell replied with a splendid point before Jake Malone ran onto a handpass from O'Callaghan and raised Cuala's second green flag to end the game as a contest. 

That left the men in red 2-15 to 1-10 up and they tagged on four more points in the closing stages to win in some style. 

Cuala - S Brennan; O Gough, Cian O'Callaghan, S Timlin; S Moran, P Schutte, J Malone (1-0); J Sheanon (0-2), D O'Connell (0-3); C Waldron, C Cronin (1-1), D Treacy (0-9, 8f); S Treacy, Con O'Callaghan (0-2), M Schutte (0-1). Subs: C Sheanon (0-1) for C Waldron, R Tierney for S Timlin, N Kenny for C Cronin.

Ballyea - K Sheehan; J Neylon, J Browne, B Carrig; G O'Connell, P Flanagan, J Murphy (0-1); T Kelly, S Lineen; N Deasy (1-6, 0-6f), G Brennan (0-1), C Doohan; P J Connolly, D Burke, P Lillis (0-2). Subs: M O'Leary for P J Connolly, D Egan for D Burke, B Murphy for J Neylon, M Coughlan for S Lineen.

Referee - F Horgan.

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