Dynamic Cuala duo sink Raheny
LUKE Keating and Niall O’Callaghan combined to great effect at Russell Park last night when their combined tally of 3-7 helped Cuala defeat Raheny in the opening round of the Dublin Senior Football Championship.
Cuala lined out without their Under-21 stars Con O’Callaghan and Darragh Spillane, while their inter-county team-mates Sean McMahon, Brian Howard and Darren Byrne were also absent for Raheny.
Four points from Keating ensured the Dalkey men made a bright start to the proceedings before the outstanding Brian Fenton brought the Raheny challenge to life.
A 0-3 salvo by the two-time All-Ireland winner moved the northsiders into the ascendancy, but Cuala responded with a 17th-minute goal by O’Callaghan.
Raheny added scores through Eoin Smyth (two), Gavin Ivory (two) and centre-back Eoin Keogh, only for a second major by O’Callaghan to provide the southside club with a slender 2-6 to 0-11 interval advantage.
Indeed, following swapped scores between Ivory and Dublin hurler Mark Schutte after the restart, Keating raised a green flag with a superb finish from a right-hand angle.
Unanswered points by Conor Mullally, Keating (free) and Eoghan Breathnach created further daylight, but during the closing stages of the tie Raheny kept themselves in contention.
Points courtesy of Fenton (two), Ivory and the raiding Keogh reduced the gap to three heading into stoppage-time, but despite losing Dublin senior Michael Fitzsimons to a second yellow card, an earlier score by substitute Alan Benson sealed a hard-earned victory for Cuala.
Scorers – Cuala: L Keating 1-6 (0-4f), N O’Callaghan 2-1, M Schutte 0-2, C Mullally, E Breathnach, A Benson 0-1 each. Raheny: G Ivory (3f), B Fenton 0-5 each, E Keogh, S McCarthy, E Smyth 0-2 each, B Talty 0-1.
CUALA: S Brennan; F Spillane, E Kelly, L McHugh; S Drummond, C Mullally, M Kiernan; J Power, M Fitzsimons; N Carthy, C Sheanon, M Schutte; N O’Callaghan, L Keating, E Breathnach. Sub: A Benson for Carthy (55).
RAHENY: D Carroll; D Pelly, S Byrne, G McNamara; G Coady, E Keogh, D Shatwell; C Talty, B Fenton; B Talty, G Ivory, S McCarthy; K Doran, R Real, E Smyth. Subs: C Heapes for Real (6), D Henry for Doran (36).
Referee: D Sheppard (Round Tower Lusk).