U16A's beat Cuala to go through to Fiinal
A bumper crowd at Silverpark on Saturday 7 October 2006 were treated to a thriller in this under 16A championship semi-final.
Cuala were quicker out of traps but their early attacks failed to produce a score and when Crokes moved into a three point lead after five minutes few could have anticipated the drama to follow. Crokes first two points were of a very high quality, the first from out on the left wing by Kevin O’Loughlin and the second a long distance effort by right half back Niall Mulligan. In the seventh minute the Dalkey men opened their account with a white flag from a free. Two minutes later the cat was really among the pigeons when the Cuala full forward grabbed a good sideline cut and found the net. Over the next four minutes Cuala added two pointed frees and the complexion of the game had changed completely.
It took another nine minutes before the next score was recorded. During this period chances were at a premium and Crokes inability to pick first time on the few occasions they found themselves free began to look costly. In the twenty second minute a Bill O’Carroll free found Kevin O’Loughlin and the corner forward slotted over. Four minutes later the same player’s free from 58 metres ended the first half scoring.
Having played against the wind, Crokes could be thankful the margin was not greater but when Cuala pointed a free in the thirty third minute the magnitude of the task in hand began to look ominous. An immediate reply in kind from Kevin O’Loughlin when his kicked goal attempt was pushed over was just the tonic needed. Four minutes afterwards Crokes were back on level terms when O’Loughlin was successful with a 47 metre free. This followed a foul on the strong running Ben Logan who had received a good pass after forceful play by Arthur Eastwood Lyons. Unfortunately, from a Kilmacud point of view, the initiative was handed back to Cuala when a free was conceded and gratefully converted in the forty second minute. From the puck out came what could have been the telling blow. The ball was pucked low and collected by a Cuala forward 30 metres from goal. His shot produced a parried save which the Cuala full forward finished to the net.
A Crokes wide a minute later suggested panic might be about to set in the face of a five point gap and a quarter of an hour to go. A good O’Loughlin point from a free 50 metres out near the left sideline steadied the ship, only for Cuala to go ahead again when Crokes conceded a free for overcarrying. Again behind by five and continuing to find scores difficult to come by the Crokes supporters could have been forgiven for entertaining doubts. To its credit their team came back the hard way. Centrefielder Mark Coughlan’s forceful play, ably assisted by his partner Ben Logan, began to have more impact and Eoin Culligan at centre forward came more into the game but by no means did their direct Cuala opponents throw in the towel. In the forty eight minute O’Loughlin was successful with a 30 metre free and in the fiftieth Ben Logan placed the same player for a good point. From the puck out the ball came to Mark Coughlan who was fouled leaving O’Loughlin to point the placed ball from 70 metres.
Now there were only two points in it but Crokes again made life hard for themselves when fouling 30 metres from goal. The Cuala free taker who was reliable all through was just wide from a difficult angle into the wind and this could have been the moment the Dalkey representatives spurned victory as a minute later O’Loughlin, from another free, 35 metres out, had the margin down to the minimum. When Mark Coughlan placed Eoin Culligan for a point in fifty seventh minute the sides were level. A minute later Barra O’Liadhan edged Crokes ahead for the first time since the ninth minute but the Stillorgan men still could not feel secure until substitute Eoin McArthur’s goal put daylight between the teams. Even then it was not over with Cuala mounting a last attack with a dropped in free. When the Crokes defence held firm the final whistle sounded to send the well supported and admirable visitors home with honour but without a final place. An enthralling game and great credit must go to this Crokes side for battling to the end to earn a well deserved final place against neighbours Ballyboden, possibly on Saturday 14th October next
Half Time: Kilmacud Crokes 0-5 Cuala 1-3
Full Time: Kilmacud Crokes 1-14 Cuala 2-7
Barry Mulligan, Gary McMorrow, Arthur Eastwood-Lyons, Donal Monnelly, Niall Mulligan (0-1), Brian Hanamy, Bill O’Carroll, Mark Coughlan, Ben Logan, Andrew Whelan, Eoin Culligan (0-1), Barra O’Liadhan ()-1), Killian Motherway, Chris Cunningham, Kevin O’Loughlin (0-11, f 0-7). Subs: Eoin McArthur (1-0) for A Whelan, Eddie O’Byrne for Killian Motherway, Naomhan O’Riordain for Chris Cunningham, Alan Carr, Darren McVeigh, Sean McGrath, Colm Garvey