Cuala will be hoping to add the Dublin SFC2 title to their SHC 'A' crown when they face St Brigid's in Sunday's decider at Parnell Park (2.0).#
The Dalkey side, managed by former Dublin wing-back Paul Curran, have won all their games to date and enter the final on the back of an at times very impressive semi-final victory.
They topped Group 1 with victories over Parnells (0-17 to 1-9), Nh Olaf (2-24 to 1-6) and St Mary's, Saggart (1-7 to 0-7) before overcoming Ballyboughal (3-12 to 0-15) in their quarter-final.
Cuala looked to be cruising to victory last time out in their semi-final against Templeogue Synge St but had to endure a nervy finish as two late penalties saw Synger go close to pulling off an incredible comeback.
Inspired up front by the O'Callaghan brothers, Con (0-5, 0-1f) and Niall (1-4), the Dalkey side led 1-16 to 1-5 as the game moved into the final ten minutes.
But after substituting several key players Synger took control of the game and got within a point before Cuala steadied themselves to prevail 1-17 to 3-9.
In the 53rd minute Ger Vickery converted a penalty after Eoghan O'Gara was fouled and five minutes into added time Lorcan O'Dell put away another spot kick, his second goal of the contest, to make it 1-16 to 3-8 before Greg Rogan reduced it to the minimum but Niall James eased Cuala nerves with a point to see the game out.
In the opening half Cuala commenced with serious intent and led 0-4 to 0-0 inside just eight minutes - Cathal O Giollain, Luke Tracey, Niall O'Callaghan and Con O'Callaghan hitting the target.
A clinical Loran O'Dell finish from an Eogan O'Gara layoff saw Templeogue Synge St get off the mark in the tenth minute.
Cuala, with Con O'Callaghan central to their best moves, continued to hold the upperhand with Michael Fitzsimons prominent at full-back and they were rewarded for their supremacy with a Niall O'Callaghan goal in the 32nd minute as they led 1-12 to 1-3 at half-time.
Score of the game came in the fifth minute of the second half when Con O'Callaghan won possession under pressure 60 metres from goal and accelerated through before applying the finish for a point.
Before the midpoint of the second half Niall O'Callaghan kicked three points in quick succession and Cuala looked out of sight when leading by 11 points.
Opponents St Brigid's got their championship campaign off to a losing start when they were defeated by Fingal Ravens (1-9 to 0-8) in their opening Group 3 assignment in Rolestown.
However, they recovered with victories over Nh Mearnóg (1-13 to 0-10) and St Maur's (2-16 to 0-10) to progress from the round-robin section.
In their quarter-final victory (1-13 to 1-9) over St Sylvester's in Broomfield Paddy Andrews top-scored with 0-8 with Liam Campbell hitting the goal, Philly Ryan also had a penalty saved by Syls keeper Michael Shiel with Seán Egan and Seán Murray enjoying strong performances.
Last day out St Brigid’s held off Nh Mearnóg to win (0-15 to 0-13) their SFC2 semi-final at Parnell Park.
The sides were level on several occasions but the Portmarnock side never led while the most Brigid’s ever led by was three points in a keenly contested duel.
Brigid’s were up by two at half-time, 0-9 to 0-7, before Liam Campbell’s point extended their advantage on the restart.
However, points from Seán Hawkshaw, Niall Murphy and Aodhán Fee, after Philly Ryan had pointed a free for Brigid’s, made it 0-11 to 0-10 going into the last quarter.
Down the home straight scores from Philly Ryan, Seán Egan, following good work by Lorcan McCarthy and Kevin Callaghan, and Paddy Andrews helped Brigid’s to a 0-14 to 0-11 lead.
Mearnóg applied pressure late on with two Shane Kavanagh frees while Mark Phelan had a point effort that went wide after clipping the outside of Stephen Moore’s upright as Brigid’s held on for victory.
The Portmarnock side played without Shane Carthy for the majority of the second period. After an influential opening half for his side, kicking two points from play and converting a '45', he was forced off with injury in the second minute of the second half.
Brigid’s led 0-9 to 0-7 at half-time after points from the impressive Mark Donnelly, who scored 0-5 overall, and Fiachra O’Meara, a great effort from the left wing standside, saw the Russell Park men conclude the half on an upward curve.
Donnelly was the key operator for Kevin Bonner’s side in the opening half when scoring four points from play, three coming after the water break.
PATH TO 2020 DUBLIN SFC2 FINAL
Semi-final: Cuala 1-17 Templeogue Synge St 3-9
Quarter-final: Cuala 3-12 Ballyboughal 0-15
Group 2: Cuala 0-17 Parnells 1-9; Cuala 2-24 Nh Olaf 1-6; Cuala 1-7 St Mary's Saggart 0-7
Semi-final: St Brigid's 0-15 Nh Mearnóg 0-13
Quarter-final: St Brigid's 1-13 St Sylvester's 1-9
Group 3: St Brigid's 2-16 St Maur's 0-10; St Brigid's 1-13 Nh Mearnóg 0-10; St Brigid's 0-8 Fingal Ravens 1-9