It’s probably a good thing that new Dublin hurling boss Pat Gilroy was in Boston and missed county champions Cuala’s latest outing.
Dublin Cuala (Dublin) 3-17
St Martin’s (Wexford) 0-15
Con O’Callaghan, the best young hurler in Dublin, who refuses to play for the county team due to his football commitments, offered another tantalising glimpse of his remarkable talent.
He had a hand in all three goals, scoring one of them, and reeled off three points from play in the second-half which helped seal their place in the December 3 AIB Leinster club final.
The Leinster club Hurler of the Year showed such an appetite for goals that he was involved in five attempts — two of which resulted in goals for the All-Ireland champions — before he even considered going for a point, in the 25th minute.
That sort of tunnel vision would, ironically, have come in useful over in Boston where Dublin participated in the Super 11s hurling tournament, a version of hurling where only goals count.
“Con O’Callaghan is a special player,” acknowledged St Martin’s manager Tomás Codd. “He even looks fast against fast players so when someone is operating like that then they are special. I thought our lads fought bravely against him for the first-half but good players are patient, they wait for their chance.”
O’Callaghan’s surge into the danger area brought about Jake Malone’s 19th minute goal for Cuala and seconds later the full-forward darted through and netted with an improvised finish. Suddenly, Cuala led 2-4 to 0-5 and carried that five-point lead into the interval.
They would stretch that lead to eight before O’Callaghan burst into life with three points in the space of 90 seconds approaching the 50th minute. The newly crowned football All Star then escaped marker Willie Devereux and bore down on goal before releasing the ball to Colm Cronin who tapped in for Cuala’s third goal.
It was only minutes later that St Martin’s lost Michael Codd and Jack O’Connor to red cards in separate incidents. Joe Coleman scored 11 points for St Martin’s and gave an exhibition of free-taking having replaced rising county star Rory O’Connor who could be out until March with knee trouble.
Scorers for Cuala:
Con O’Callaghan (1-3); D. Treacy (0-6, 4 frees, 1 65); J. Malone and C. Cronin (1-1 each); N. Kenny (0-3); Colum Sheanon, N. Carty and B. Fitzgerald (0-1 each).
Scorers for St Martin’s:
J. Coleman (0-11, 7 frees, 1 s/l); Joe O’Connor, Jack O’Connor, D. Codd and D. Waters (0-1 each).
S. Brennan; O. Gough, Cian O’Callaghan, S. Timlin; J. Sheanon, S. Moran, P. Schutte; D. O’Connell, S. Treacy; Colum Sheanon, C. Cronin, J. Malone; N. Kenny, Con O’Callaghan, D. Treacy.
N. Carty for Con O’Callaghan (51); C. Waldron for Cronin (51); R. Tierney for Cian O’Callaghan (54); S. Stapleton for Colum Sheanon (57); B. Fitzgerald for Kenny (57).
L. White; W. Devereux, C. Firman, P. Kelly; D. Waters, A. Maddock, B. O’Connor; H. O’Connor, M. Maloney; J. Firman, J. O’Connor, J. Coleman; M. Coleman, J. O’Connor, C. Lyng.
D. Codd for Coleman (h/t); M. Codd for J Firman (40); B. Maddock for B. O’Connor (50).
D. Hughes (Carlow).
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