ST JUDE’S 2-11
St Jude’s progressed to another Go Ahead Dublin Senior 1 Football Championship semi-final as they defeated Cuala by the bare minimum in their thrilling last eight encounter at Parnell Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Templeogue side have been a model of consistency over the last decade and beyond and they advanced to the last four once again after a performance that reflected more on their experience at this level rather than their stuttering form over the hour.
Cuala will rue a lack of composure in the dying moments with Cal Doran’s levelling effort falling short as Brendan Flynn in the St Jude’s goal unconvincingly punched the ball to safety off his upright.
It was Cuala that settled into game far quicker with Luke Keating splitting the uprights in the 2nd minute after a Con O’Callaghan attempt had drifted across the goal.
O’Callaghan doubled his team’s lead three minutes later and their greater cohesion in attack was rewarded further as Keating clipped over his second point from an acute angle in the 9th minute.
Cuala had enjoyed a similarly fruitful start against Thomas Davis in their final group game a fortnight previously and they opened up a six-point gap in the 11th minute as Con O’Callaghan sold Alex Hassett a dummy before coolly firing into the bottom corner across Brendan Flynn.
St Jude’s were in dire need of some inspiration at this stage and it arrived through a Kevin McManamon point with a Darragh Rooney free trimming their deficit to four points by the 17th minute.
Con O’Callaghan jinked inside to pop over another point two minutes later but St Jude’s were beginning to gain a foothold in terms of possession and they crucially netted a goal of their own with Rooney afforded too much space as he drove clinically inside Ryan Scollard’s right-hand upright.
Points followed through a Liam Connerton ‘mark’ and a Rooney free as parity was restored by the 22nd minute but Cuala managed to regain some control as they replied through a Con O’Callaghan free and a Cal Doran point.
The influential Rooney added another free for Jude’s in the closing stages of the half but Doran handed Cuala a deserved two-point (1-7 to 1-5) lead from Cathal Ó Giolláin’s pass three minutes before the break.
Rooney halved the St Jude’s deficit when pointing from a close-in free within two minutes of the restart but some defensive uncertainty at the opposite end allowed Keating to escape down the end line with his cutback eventually despatched superbly to the roof of the net by Niall O’Callaghan.
Matters deteriorated even further for St Jude’s when Kevin Lahiff was black carded for a trip on Con O’Callaghan in the 37th minute although they managed that subsequent ten-minute period relatively well with David Sheehy and Keating trading points.
Lahiff’s arrival back on the field had an immediate effect with St Jude’s plundering a second goal in the 48th minute as McManamon found space to release Tom Lahiff for a convincing finish beyond the horribly exposed Scollard.
O’Callaghan and Rooney exchanged points before St Jude’s finally took a semblance of control thanks to Alan Connolly and Rooney and while Pat Spillane and Rooney spurned gilt-edged chances to finish the contest, St Jude’s held on for a vital if unconvincing success.
Scorers – St Jude’s: D Rooney 1-7 (0-6f), T Lahiff 1-0, L Connerton (mark), K McManamon, D Sheehy, A Connolly 0-1 apiece. Cuala: C O’Callaghan 1-4 (0-1f), L Keating 0-4 (1f), N O’Callaghan 1-0, C Doran 0-2.
St Jude’s: B Flynn; S Kirwan, A Hassett, C Fitzpatrick; C McCartan, O Manning, K Lahiff; C Murphy, T Lahiff; D Kavanagh, D Rooney, D Sheehy; L Connerton, K McManamon, P Spillane. Subs: S King for Murphy (45), J Carty for Sheehy (50), A Connolly for McManamon (54), C Guckian for Manning (58).
Cuala: R Scollard; M Conroy, M Fitzsimons, E O’Callaghan; N James, E Kennedy, C Dunne; P Ó Cofaigh Byrne, P Duffy; J Power, N O’Callaghan, C Doran; L Keating, C O’Callaghan, C Ó Giolláin. Subs: D Spillane for James (41), S Mangan for Dunne (51), D Ó Floinn for Power (51), L Tracey for E O’Callaghan (58), M Tracey for Ó Giolláin (61).
Referee: Ian Howley (O’Dwyer’s)