Dublin SHC: Con O’Callaghan helps Cuala into last eight
Defending champions blow away Lucan Sarsfields and will face Kilmacud Crokes
Dublin footballer Con O’Callaghan bagged 1-2 at Parnell Park on Sunday afternoon as Cuala maintained their quest for a fourth consecutive Dublin Senior Hurling Championship title with a comfortable 2-26 to 2-13 success over Lucan Sarsfields.
Mattie Kenny’s Dalkey outfit are also chasing their third All-Ireland crown in succession and will now face Kilmacud Crokes in the penultimate round of the competition.
After Cuala had raced in front with unanswered points by Nicky Kenny, Jake Malone and David Treacy, Lucan eventually opened their account via an Emmet Allen free. The holders were vastly superior throughout the first half, however, and moved seven clear with a succession of eye-catching scores.
Even though Lucan registered points through Matt McCaffrey, Paul Crummey and Ciaran Dowling, they struggled to contain their much-fancied opponents.
Five points without reply – including a brace for centre-back Sean Moran – provided Cuala with a comprehensive 12-point interval buffer (0-16 to 0-4).
While Johnny McCaffrey and Dowling did their utmost for Lucan, the holders continued to pick off scores in a ruthless fashion. Treacy (Cuala’s scorer-in-chief with nine points), Mark Schutte and Colum Sheanon re-inforced their supremacy, before O’Callaghan fired past Kevin Roche from an acute angle on 45 minutes.
To their credit, Lucan refused to throw in the towel – and gained some solace in the form of late goals by CJ Smith and All-Star nominee Chris Crummey. Cuala were determined to finish the contest on a high, though, and Moran buried a final-minute penalty to round off a clinical display.
Earlier in the same venue, 14-man Kilmacud booked their place in the last-four with a convincing 0-19 to 0-14 win over southside rivals St Jude’s.
Seeking their first senior crown since 2014, Crokes opened up an early two-point cushion with scores from Fergal Whitely and Marc Howard. Although Jude’s eventually replied through Fionn Ó Riain Broin and Eoin McLoughlin, they struggled to take advantage of a strong breeze in the opening period.
Crokes created significant daylight with a series of excellent efforts by corner-forwards Oisin O’Rorke and Ronan Hayes – before losing Jamie Clinton to a straight red-card in first-half stoppage-time.
Indeed, following a long-distance strike by Tom Devlin, Jude’s were just three points in arrears (0-9 to 0-6) at the break.
This was a major test of Crokes’ championship credentials, but their response on the resumption was emphatic. With Whitely, Sean McGrath, Hayes and the outstanding O’Rorke (who finished with a personal tally of 0-6) all finding the target, they opened up a seemingly unassailable 0-17 to 0-8 cushion.
A determined Jude’s – powered by the growing influence of county star Danny Sutcliffe – managed to close the gap inside the final-quarter, but it wasn’t enough to deny Anthony Daly’s charges.
On the opposite side of the draw, Ballyboden St Enda’s were paired with St Vincent’s after their respective victories over Ballinteer St John’s and Na Fianna last Friday evening.