By Michael Moynihan, Croke Park
Ballyea (Clare) 1-10 Cuala (Dublin) 2-19
Cuala took the honours in the All-Ireland Club hurling final with surprising ease, easing past Ballyea of Clare in a dour struggle.
The Dublin side attacked the Hill 16 end in the first half but Ballyea were first to score, through a Niall Deasy free. Two David Treacy points, one a free, nudged Cuala ahead by the tenth minute.
Neither side looked settled, with plenty of mistakes being made, before Colm Cronin read a break well and soloed through to goal calmly: 1-2 to 0-1 on 14 minutes, though Deasy pointed a Ballyea free immediately afterwards.
Both teams played more freely after that, John Murphy and Pearse Lillis pointing either side of a Treacy free. Con O’Callaghan hit the bar for Cuala before John Sheanon added another point for the Dubliners.
Darragh O’Connell and O’Callaghan also found their range before the break, leaving it 1-7 to 0-4 at the half in Cuala’s favour.
Cuala’s keeper Sean Brennan made a superb save to keep Pearse Lillis’s shot out on the resumption as the Clare men came looking get back into the game.
The Dublin side hit three on the bounce, however - Treacy with two and O’Callaghan - before Ballyea added their fifth.
On 40 minutes it was 1-12 to 0-7. Deasy keeping Ballyea in touch with frees, however, and the gap was six with quarter of an hour left.
Tracy stretched the gap to seven with a Cuala free, and then Deasy hit a close-range goal to put the cat among the pigeons: 1-10 to 1-14 with nine minutes left.
O’Callaghan almost goaled for Cuala from the puck out but had to be content with a point. In the 55th minute Cuala had their second goal, a fine solo effort from Jake Malone, and the game was as good as over.
The men in red and white finished with a flourish, hitting four points on the spin, and it ended with them 12 points to the good.
Scorers for Ballyea: N. Deasy (1-6, 6 frees); P. Lillis (0-2); G. Brennan, J. Murphy (0-1 each).
Scorers for Cuala: D. Treacy (0-9, 8 frees); C. Cronin 1-1; J. Malone 1-0, D. O’Connell (0-3); C. O’Callaghan, J. Sheanon (0-2 each); M. Schutte, C. Shannon (0-1 each);
BALLYEA: K. Sheehan, J. Neylon, J. Browne, B. Carrig, G. O’Connell, P. Flanagan, J. Murphy, T. Kelly, S. Lineen (c), N. Deasy, G. Brennan, C. Doohan, PJ Connolly, D. Burke, P. Lillis.
Subs: M. O’Leary for Connolly (35); D. Egan for Burke (40); B. Murphy for Neylon (55); M. Coughlan for Lineen (57).
CUALA: S. Brennan, O. Gough (c), Cian O’Callaghan, S. Timlin, S. Moran, P. Schutte, J. Malone, J. Sheanon, D. O’Connell, C. Waldron, C. Cronin, D. Treacy, S. Treacy, Con O’Callaghan, M. Schutte.
Subs: C. Sheanon for Waldron (45); R. Tierney for Timlin (60); N. Kenny for Cronin (61).
Referee: F. Horgan (Tipperary).