By John Coleman
Douglas ... 3-19, Killeagh ... 1-9: There was no mistake from Douglas in Páirc Uí Rinn last night as they overcame the challenge of Killeagh with a bit to spare in the first round of the Cork SHC championship.
Last year the east Cork men cut Douglas’s summer short before it really got going but it wasn’t to b on this occasion as the city side, minus the services of Cork star Alan Cadogan, were the better team throughout and pulled away convincingly in the second half.
There was a lot for Douglas to be happy with. All their scores came from play, Eoin Cadogan and Philip Shine were solid in the full-back line, Stephen Moylan had a huge influence on proceedings operating from a deep role in midfield, Luke McGrath and Donnach Murphy were busy throughout while they have a forward division that is the envy of many.
On the flip side, there was sixteen wides but for a first round game in April, it was very much a case of ‘job done’.
The opening exchanges were even with both teams registering nice scores from play. Kieran Lane and Gary Leahy found their range for Killeagh while points from Shane Kingston, Mark O’Connor and Mark Collins gave Douglas a 0-3 to 0-2 lead after seven minutes.
Kingston then burned through the Killeagh defence only to see his ground shot well saved by Colin Walsh. From the resultant clearance, Killeagh’s Matthew Murphy forced a brilliant turnover only for his resultant shot to fall short.
However, Brendan Delaney was hand to double the ball home and the east Cork side were in front while Douglas might have been sensing a hint of déja-vu.
Unfortunately for Killeagh, the Douglas response was to be emphatic, as they reeled off 1-4 without reply. Luke McGrath and Donnach Murphy had them level before Cian McCarthy made his presence felt with another doubled goal after a long delivery from Murphy.
McCarthy then added a point and McGrath had his second to leave Douglas leading by 1-7 to 1-2 with twenty minutes played.
It was noticeable how Douglas sought to find McCarthy early and often with long deliveries and while Christy Coughlan dealt with them well for the most part, McCarthy is a difficult player to contain.
He again made his presence felt by keeping a seemingly lost cause in play before Kingston pounced on the break and fed Mark O’Connor who drilled the ball to the net.
Shane Bourke added another point and while Eoghan Keniry had a free and Kieran Lane pointed majestically from a side line for Killeagh, they faced an uphill task as they trailed by 2-8 to 1-4 at the break.
That hill became an awful lot steeper on the resumption when Bourke added another point and Kingston buried an excellent individual goal. This put an end to the game as a contest as Douglas took full advantage of the game opening-up.
It particularly suited Shane Kingston and Mark O’Connor as they reeled off six points between them while McCarthy and Bourke also added to their totals impressively.
There was also a strong resolve about Douglas’s defence, even when the game lost its edge, as they made Killeagh work hard for everything they got. Keniry added a couple of more frees for Killeagh, Daniel Walsh had a point and Brian Collins, one of their better performers on the night, pointed twice. However, it was never going to be enough against a rampant Douglas.
It was a disappointing night all round for the Imokilly men, especially after reaching last year’s league final, but they’ve plenty of time to re-set themselves for the challenge of St. Finbarr’s or Newcestown in round two.
Scorers: Douglas: S Kingston and M O’Connor 1-4 each, C McCarthy 1-3, S Bourke 0-4, L McGrath 0-2, M Collins and D Murphy 0-1 each.
Scorers: Killeagh: B Delaney 1-0, E Keniry 0-3 (frees), B Collins and K Lane 0-2 (0-1 s/line) each, G Leahy and D Walsh 0-1 each.
Douglas: A Cullinane, S Fogarty, E Cadogan, P Shine, L McGrath, N Walsh, C Kingston, S Moylan, D Murphy, M Collins, M O’Connor, S Bourke, S Kingston, C McCarthy, M Dolan. Subs: S Collins for Shine (46 mins).
Killeagh: C Walsh, M Fitzgerald, C Coughlan, S Long, P O’Brien, K Murphy, A Keniry, B Collins, D Walsh, K Lane, E Keniry, A Walsh, M Murphy, G Leahy, B Delaney. Subs: P O’Neill for Murphy (44 mins), K Treacy for Delaney (46 mins) and C Fogarty for E Keniry (47 mins).
Referee: Nathan Wall (Carrigaline).