Cuala 6-25 v 2-7 Réalt Dearg C
The mystery of the disappearing C men continues to confound the Realt Dearg massive as an outstanding first half performance in Dalkey was followed, as it was 2 weeks ago, by a desperately frustrating second where we battled to the death but couldn't get a handle on fresher opponents.
Stripped of their leader as Cillian 'family man' Thornton had more pressing matters to attend to (More pressing than Cuala away??!! I hear you cry) The C men took to the field led by ruggedly handsome new captain and determined to make amends for a second half collapse against Clontarf.
And the stars were straight out of the blocks, Dave Sheehan blasting to the net entirely on purpose from a 30 yard free in the opening minutes. Resisting the urge to park the bus , the men in red and black went about adding to their lead only to find their opponents middle third a serious handful, not least your humble scribe looking particularly leaky on the wing in his struggles to deal with a rangy young wing forward. The All Ireland Champions (kinda) were soon back in the game, picking off four scores to no reply before the stars managed to get their hurling hats back on.
But recover they did and for the remainder of the half, no quarter was given or asked as the sides went score or score, one of the highlights coming courtesy of a stunning long range point from young Ciaran Flanagan which dropped just inside the left upright. Clearly the young tyro has been watching his brother Gary Hurney closely in training
It was Sheehan who led his team to the front again, stretching to get a flick onto a long delivery and finding the net for his second major, to go with a handsome haul of placed balls. Ruairi Henchy repaid his manager's decision to push him forward to the 40 with some classy scores, and the returning Brian Finn showed everyone just what we've been missing with an 'all pullin, all draggin' exhibition of midfield play. The half time scoreline flattered the hosts, as the on-fire Bernard Herlihy was finally beaten at the 5th attempt for a late goal to make it Cuala 1-12 Realt Dearg 2-6 at half time.
Hopes of pulling off a shock were high, but ominously the teams were made to wait for the second half throw in as the referee struggled to get his head around no fewer than 5 Cuala half time substitutions. The writing was on the wall early in the second half as the fresh legs in the middle told and even a shot stopper of Herlihy's talents could not contend with the quality of ball being launched into the square. The full back line of James Brookes, Gav O'Connell and newly relocated to the back division Dave Lynch could only battle for so long before they were eventually swallowed by the red and white tide like their colleagues further out.
Despite the scoreline Kev McEvoy will take some solace from a game where Cuala were made to fight for every ball until the very end, and with a few reinforcements the Cs will feel confident of turning over anyone Junior F has to offer in 4 weeks time. With Cuala and Clontarf fancied to be close to the top of the league and now out of the way there is plenty of reasons to be hopeful looking forward.
Finally congratulations to our latest debutant James Egan who played the full 60 at wing back and never stopped running, leaving his opposite number with just the right amount of scars, both physical and mental.
Réalt Dearg C: Bernard Herlihy, James Brooks, Gavin O Connell, Dave Lynch, Gary Walsh, Colin Swanton, James Egan, Ciaran Flanagan, Ger Kennedy, Richie Phelan, Ruairi Henchy, Leon Flanagan, Niall Heavy, Dave Sheehan, Brian Finn.