Cuala today became the first club since Ballyhale Shamrocks in 2008/2009 to win back-to-back Leinster Club Championships, after a comprehensive victory over Kilcormac/Killoughey in Portlaoise.
The Dalkey club now head for the All-Ireland series eager to defend the title they won on St Patrick’s Day, and judging by their showings in recent weeks, they’ll take some stopping.
One of the real victories for Mattie Kenny and his team is how they’ve managed the workload involved, considering this was their third consecutive year in the provincial final. This essentially means that they have had three seasons in a row that lasted over 11 months.
With Dublin’s run to All-Ireland Football Championship finals meaning that the club championships are put on hold throughout the summer, Cuala have clearly been timing their run.
Speaking after the game, Cian O’Callaghan revealed that they’ll be looking forward to a winter break before turning focus on the All-Ireland semi-final with Liam Mellows.
“We’ll probably get out next week for a bit [of training], but we’ll definitely enjoy Christmas, head for a few pints, and then get back on the horse in the last week of December.
“We know there is a huge amount to work on even though that was a comprehensive performance.”
The Dublin intercounty star went on to explain how experience of reaching this stage of the tournament stood to them today, and may well do so again in the New Year.
“There was that bit of experience there. All we treated this as was the next match in our journey. It’s always ‘next match, next match, next match’. That’s always been our mantra for the last three years.
“We’re just delighted to come out here and perform on one of the biggest days of the year. It caps off the year nicely, but we do have a lot of work-ons going into the semi-final, but we’ll really enjoy Christmas after that. We’re ecstatic.”
Cian’s younger brother, Con, was once again the driving force for Cuala in the forwards, and he feels there could be more to come from the Young Footballer of the Year.
“I’m sure he [Con] can get better! A few goals there… He has a great engine. He’s getting shots on target the whole time. He’s a fantastic athlete, he’s a fantastic hurler. There’s more to come.”
Cuala now look ahead to the All-Ireland semi-final, where they will take on Liam Mellows, who won the Galway Championship today. Na Piarsaigh and Slaughtneil will face off in the other semi-final.