Cuala made history in Croke Park on St. Patrick’s Day as they became the capital’s first ever winners of the Tommy Moore Cup.
Jack Malone’s goal seven minutes from time pushed the Leinster side 2-15 to 1-10 clear before finishing with four unanswered points through Darragh O’Connell, Mark Schutte and Colum Sheanon (2).
Mattie Kenny’s team were the better team as Ballyea never really settled. Niall Deasy did put the Clare champions ahead on two minutes but they went nearly a quarter hour before adding to their tally.
Two David Treacy frees overturned the deficit but Colm Cronin’s 14th minute goal, with Ballyea marking Con O’Callaghan, put Cuala 1-2 to 0-1 in front.
Deasy and James Murphy reduced arrears before Treacy and Pearse Lillis traded points leaving it 1-3 to 0-4 on 19 minutes.
But Cuala pulled clear getting seven scores either side of the break. Treacy, John Sheanon, O’Connell and O’Callaghan got the first four making it 1-7 to 0-4 at half-time. Treacy (2) and O’Callaghan added upon the restart.
Ballyea struggled and Tony Kelly finished the contest scoreless. But they did manage to get back within four points with 10 minutes remaining. Clare football captain Gary Brennan and Lillis scored before the teams shared four points leaving it 1-12 to 0-8.
Deasy and Treacy shared four more placed balls in their own personal duel but when Lillis picked out Deasy for Ballyea’s goal on 50 minutes, this All-Ireland final was set-up for a dramatic conclusion.
Ballyea had come from behind to beat Glen Rovers in the Munster Final. But Cuala have been strong finishers. O’Connell put five between them before O’Callaghan set up Malone for the winning goal.
Cuala – David Treacy 0-9, Colm Cronin 1-1, Darragh O’Connell 0-3, Jake Malone 1-0, Con O’Callaghan 0-2, Colum Sheanon 0-2, John Sheanon 0-1, Mark Schutte 0-1.
Ballyea – Niall Deasy 1-6, Pearse Lillis 0-2, James Murphy 0-1, Gary Brennan 0-1.
Cuala – Sean Brennan; Oisin Gough, Cian O’Callaghan, Simon Timlin; Sean Moran, Paul Schutte, John Sheanon; Jake Malone, Darragh O’Connell; Cian Waldron, Colm Cronin, David Treacy; Sean Treacy, Con O’Callaghan, Mark Schutte.
Ballyea – Kevin Sheehan; Joe Neylon, Jack Browne, Brian Carrig; Gearoid O’Connell, Paul Flanagan, James Murphy; Tony Kelly, Stan Lineen; Niall Deasy, Gary Brennan, Cathal Doohan; Pat Joe Connolly, Damien Burke, Pearse Lillis.