It’s not every day you win an All Ireland Championship. And it’s definitely no mean feat to win three All Ireland’s in one year! What’s rare is wonderful, and in his first full senior year, Cuala’s Con O’Callaghan has done just that.
The unassuming and apparently unaffected man from the Dalkey club, quite simply, has had the best year of his short career so far.
Following Cuala’s Leinster winning campaign at the end of 2016, were O’Callaghan had already amassed a whopping 6-10 over the three games, 2017 started the same way. Con scored 1-03 in their win over Slaughtneil in the All Ireland Semis and another 0-02 in the Championship final in Croke Park, on St. Patrick’s Day against Ballyea, which helped Cuala to their first ever All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.
Only days after this victory, Con was hanging up his hurl and switching his attention to Football as part of Dessie Farrell’s U21 Dublin side as they continued their Leinster Campaign. Having already beaten Westmeath in the Quarter Finals, O’Callaghan’s 2-05 helped the Dubs see off Longford in the Semi Finals, and he was a key figure in their successful final encounter with Offaly.
So the quest for a second All Ireland medal was still alive as the Dub’s defeated Donegal in their Semi Final to set up a final tie with Galway. And once again O’Callaghan proved his worth on the day, slotting away 1-03 of his team’s 2-13 to 2-07 victory as number two was secured.
What more could the Cuala man need to end the year in style? What else but a Celtic Cross with Jim Gavin’s Senior Footballers as they went for three-in-a-row. Con passed his first two tests in Leinster against Carlow and Westmeath, but it was against Kildare that he showed the football community that he had arrived scoring 0-12 of Dublin 2-23 on the day.
He continued to impress through the All Ireland series but left the best until the Semi Final and Final. His green flag against Tyrone set the tone for the entire game as Dublin dominated proceedings.
And there doesn’t leave much to be said about the opening of the 2017 All Ireland Final against Mayo as O’Callaghan hit the net in the second minute to create the greatest start for Dublin in their attempt to retain Sam Maguire.
Here are Con’s score in his three final appearances in 2017.
What a year! What will next year be like if this is only the beginning?
(video credit: GAANow via YouTube)