By Cilian Murphy via grassrootsgaa.ie
O’Tooles midfielders and GrassRootsGAA Star Men Andy Morris and Conor Carton produced a sensational hour’s hurling between them yesterday evening to ensure their side collected both points on offer in this AHL1 clash against Cuala in Blunden Drive.
The talented duo amassed 18 points between them, nine from play, to propel their side to victory in an overall impressive performance from the men in green and white.
Cuala were missing a whole host of regulars it has to be said, most notably so their Dublin contingent who usually form the spine of their team.
Despite this, it wasn’t until the second half when O’ Tooles managed to push themselves into a comfortable winning position, as the accuracy of Barry Connolly from placed balls and the industry of Cian Waldron kept Cuala in the hunt up to that point.
It was the home side who drew first blood as they raced into an early four point lead with Conor Carton (2), Liam Ryan and Andy Morris on target.
Barry Connolly (free) responded on six minutes for Cuala before Andy Morris and Cian Waldron exchanged scores to leave three between the sides. O’Tooles’ half back line were holding sway at this point and most of the home side’s attacks could be traced back to interceptions made in this area of the field.
Morris and Carton were at it again, Morris with a huge effort from the middle of the park and Carton with a trademark free. The accuracy of both teams was notable with not a single wide registered until the 13th minute.
Cuala were starting to drift and needed some scores quickly. Up stepped Waldron, Eoghan Breathnach and Connolly (free) to reduce the gap to just two points by the 15th minute.
Carton responded for O’ Tooles a minute later only to see Connolly tag on two further frees for his team to leave the gap at just a solitary point.
O’ Tooles were becoming frustrated thaat their dominance of possession was not being reflected on the scoreboard. Conor Carton set about remedying the situation with three points before half time to leave his side with an 0-11 to 0-7 lead at the break.
O’ Tooles were given a golden opportunity to stretch their lead on the restart when they were awarded a penalty merely 30 seconds into the second half.
However, Andy Morris’ effort was well saved by Cuala net-minder Stephen Butler who gave an impressive exhibition of goalkeeping throughout for his team.
The teams then traded points three times over the next 10 minutes; Connolly (2 frees) and midfielder Sean Moran scoring for Cuala while Graham Morris (2) and Conor Carton kept O’ Tooles out in front.
O’ Tooles’ midfield dynamos were getting onto a heap of ball and they each pointed yet again to extend their side’s lead out to six.
Cuala, to their credit, never threw the towel in, with Scott O’ Brien in particular from wing back bringing the game to O’ Tooles and not allowing them to sit on their lead.
However, despite the Dalkey outfit’s endeavour to score the goal they needed, O’ Tooles just had too many seasoned campaigners to allow that to happen as they repelled Cuala’s attacks with ease, limiting them to long range point efforts which were never going to be enough to claw back O’ Tooles’ lead.
The final score in Blunden Drive- O’ Tooles 0-22 Cuala 0-13