Cuala had to come back late on to force yesterday’s All-Ireland final to extra-time. Trailing 1-16 to 0-16 deep into injury time, it looked like the reigning champions were dead and buried. However, Colm Cronin was awarded a 21-yard free, and centreback Seán Moran stood over the ball.
After what seemed like an age to those clad in red and white around the Jones’ Road stadium, the Dublin county star rose the sliotar and smashed it past six Na Piarsaigh players standing on the goal line.
GOAL!!! Cuala's Seán Moran brings the game to extra time! pic.twitter.com/BBSbAew7sz
— The GAA (@officialgaa) March 17, 2018
We can only imagine what was going through his head. Speaking after the game, Cuala manager Mattie Kenny conceded it was a nerve-wracking experience.
“What was going through my mind? I said ‘this is the last puck of the game…he needs to make this or it’s gone’.
“I’d have full confidence in him [Seán Moran], but how could you have full confidence? The goal was lined. I was just hoping he would get a good strike on it, and that he did.
“I was more than pleased when I saw the net shaking.”
It wasn’t the only time in the game when Kenny’s nerves were shot. In the final minute of extra-time, David Treacy was tasked with pointing a long-range free to level the game.
“That was a good free from David. He wasn’t far inside the 65, he was hitting it into the teeth of the wind. I had moved down that end of the field. In my own mind, I said it was going to take a really good strike to get it from there. Thankfully, David’s free-taking over the last three or four years has always been crucial to us.”
After so much drama, the Cuala faithful will be hopeful that they can retain the Tommy Moore Cup in the replay.