THE scoreline at the end flattered Midleton at Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday, yet, there was never any real doubt that they would be the team to face Ballymartle in next Sunday’s Cork SHC quarter-final.
They were in the lead for the entire game and, from a position of being just six points clear in the 49th minute, went on a scoring rampage with an impressive return of 3-4 in remaining time.
Team manager Ger Power credited the players with a positive response to a request to raise their standard in the second-half. And, he wasn’t getting carried away by the huge margin, stressing they will treat the All-Ireland Intermediate Club champions with ‘total respect.’
"We came up to do a job and they did it,’’ he commented. "At half time we were a bit worried about playing against the wind in the second half. We asked them to up their game and to be fair they did. And scores came freely in the end for us.’’
Midleton didn’t take long to lay down a marker, producing two points before Paul Haughney scored the first of their goals in the 6th minute. It came after ‘keeper Brian Boyle made a great save from Luke O’Farrell (after he had beaten Eoin Cadogan to a high ball at the edge of the square).
Over the course of the half, Douglas were to be limited to a mere four points, but that was more a reflection of some poor finishing (which produced eight wides up to the break) rather than an inability to penetrate.
At the same time, the tactic of withdrawing selected left corner-forward Stephen Moylan didn’t really work. While he occasionally won good possession in front of his own half-back line, the ‘loose’ man in the Midleton defence, Patrick O’Mahony, cleared far more ball overall and was consistent throughout.
Meanwhile, at the other end, Eoin Cadogan was never able to establish a grip at the heart of the Douglas defence, a fact influenced by the general threat posed by the opposing corner-forwards, Conor Lehane and Haugney, as well as O’Farrell’s skilful play.
In addition to O’Mahony, Aidan Ryan was a key figure for Midleton at centre-back, with James Nagle on his right also very influential and they offered more at midfield until Barry Fitzgerald came strongly into the game for Douglas later on. At half time, it was 1-8 to 0-4. To be fair to Douglas, they did lift their challenge to an appreciable degree on the resumption. Aided by the wind, they outscored their opponents by four points to two up to the three-quarters stage, meaning that the deficit was down to five points.
With Fitzgerald, Odhran Mulrooney and Mark Harrington prominent, they increased the pressure, and were still competitive with ten minutes to go after a good point from substitute Alan Cadogan.
However, they badly needed a goal to boost their challenge and by the time they did find the net – two minutes into injury time – Midleton had gone on a scoring spree. Substitute Pat White started it with his 52nd minute goal and in addition to further goals from O’Farrell (resulting directly from a mistake by a frustrated Cadogan) and Lehane, they added four points to emphasise their superiority.
Scorers for Midleton: P. Haugney 1-5; C. Lehane 1-4; S. Hennessy 0-4 (0-3 frees, 0-1 ‘65); L. O’Farrell and P. White 1-0 each; A. Ryan, S. Farrell and C. Walsh 0-1 each.
Scorers for Douglas: M. Harrington 0-5 (0-4 frees); O. Mulrooney 1-1; B. Fitzgerald 0-2; R. Murphy (free), A. Cadogan and S. Moylan (free) 0-1 each.
MIDLETON: B. Behan; P. O’Mahony, D. Ryan, F. O’Mahony; J. Nagle, A. Ryan, P. O’Shea; S. Farrell, C. Walsh; S. Hennessy, K. Mulcahy, S. Moore; C. Lehane, L. O’Farrell, P. Haugney.
Subs: P. White for Moore (43); I. Kennefick for Mulcahy (55); P. O’Keeffe for Hennessy (59).
DOUGLAS: B. Boyle; T. Cullinane, E. Cadogan, R. Keating; C. Lucey, C. Dineen, E. Benson; B. Fitzgerald, J. Collins; R. Murphy, M. Collins; O. Mulrooney; F. Desmond, M. Harrington, S. Moylan.
Subs: A. Cadogan for Desmond (43); J. Moylan for Murphy and C. O’Mahony for Keating (51); P. Shine for Dineen (55).
Referee: John Sexton (Ballyhea).