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Published: 12:45 | 25/3/18

Kenny lauds Cuala character after historic title win

Cuala manager Mattie Kenny hailed his team's character after repelling a Na Piarsaigh fightback to claim back-to-back All-Ireland Club Senior Hurling Championship for the first time with 2-17 1-17 victory in a replay at O'Moore Park.

Cuala became just the eighth club in GAA history to defend their All-Ireland crown and the first hurling side since Portumna did so nine years ago.

The replay in Portlaoise was every bit as dramatic as last Saturday's drawn match at Croke Park.

Substitute Nicky Kenny and Mark Schutte netted to put The Dublin side six points clear after 40 minutes, but the 2016 champions from Limerick bounced back and were a point ahead themselves courtesy of a David Breen goal.

All-Star footballer Con O'Callaghan then leveled the scores before having a hand in further efforts from David Treacy and Schutte to edge Cuala to the title.

Mattie Kenny told Offtheball.com: "I am so proud of this group players, the management structure and the backroom staff, everyone put so much effort into it over the last three or four years.

"Coming out of Dublin, being on the road on top of winning last year's All-Ireland. So to do it again, I am so proud of the guys.

"We showed huge character in difficult circumstances at Croke Park last Saturday and our character was tested tonight, but we kept coming and we kept coming, we put away those three or four points to win the game.

"We said we'd have an edge to our play and be more on the front foot. We work hard to create and close down space and use the ball intelligently and we got some good cores.

"The two goals came at very good times in the secon-half, but credit to Na Piarsaigh we knew they'd come back."

Cuala defender Oisín Gough added: "Fair play to the lads for digging it out. It was a tight, hard fought battle between two of the biggest teams in Ireland."

Image: Inpho/ James Crombie

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