Cusack inspires Cloyne to victory over brave Douglas

THE all-round talent of hurling’s leading goalkeeper was highlighted in Jamesey Kelleher Memorial Park in Dungourney on Saturday evening.

Donal Óg Cusack brought off three brilliant saves and scored seven points from frees to earn Cloyne a deserved victory over Douglas in their Evening Echo Cork SHC first round clash.

Seldom has a goalkeeper made such a contribution but it was one of those days when Cloyne needed a boost to send them off on a familiar path.

They needed to banish the memories of a third successive county final defeat and spirits had taken a hammering with news that Paudie O’Sullivan will miss the campaign with a ruptured cruciate ligament.

Then Douglas — the new kids on the block — going all out to make a name for themselves under the direction of the legendary dual All-Ireland star, Teddy McCarthy, were poised to cause a major upset. Inside a minute and a half they were two points up — the first scored by corner forward Stephen Moylan after just 35 seconds and the second by midfielder Mark Harrington.

Mike Naughton pulled one back for Cloyne in the fourth minute and Douglas were handed a golden opportunity to add another when Stephen Moylan was fouled as he attempted to work his way through. Mark Harrington, however, elected to go for a goal but the effort just provided Cusack with the chance to bring off his first save.

Douglas were now well on top and, two minutes later, they would have had a goal but for another piece of brilliance from Cusack. The sliotar fell at the feet of Cormac Dineen and Cusack was unsighted when he kicked it towards the net. The goalkeeper got his hurley to it for his second wonder save of the evening.

Douglas were growing in confidence with every strike. Their defence was enthusiastic, Mark Harrington was lording it at midfield and Barry Fitzgerald covered every inch of grass.

Douglas were hardly flattered by their four-point lead when presented with the third and best goal opportunity. Mark Harrington had just scored a point and the puck-out was returned to Stephen Moylan who found Stephen Moylan perfectly placed to flick the ball to the corner of the net but Cusack threw himself from the left to bring off another brilliant save.

Colm O’Sullivan scored a point to send the sides into the break with Douglas leading 0-8 to 0-5. Mark Harrington had the first of only two Douglas second half points from a ‘65’ in the opening minute but from here on it was all about Donal Óg.

Nine times he left his line on free-taking duty and he missed just twice as Cloyne advanced to the second round.

Scorers for Cloyne: D. Óg Cusack 0-7 (frees), C. Cusack 0-3, D. O’Sullivan (frees) and M. Naughton 0-2 each, C. O’Sullivan and D. Ring 0-1 each.

Douglas: M. Harrington 0-5 (0-2 frees), S. Moylan 0-3 (0-2 frees), B. Fitzgerald and J. Moylan 0-1 each.

CLOYNE: D. Óg Cusack; E. O’Sullivan, K. Cronin, D. Motherway; C. O’Lomasney, M. Cahill, Donal O’Sullivan; B. Fleming, J. Cotter; V. Cusack, Diarmuid O’Sullivan, M. Naughton; D. Germyn, C. O’Sullivan, C. Cusack.

Sub: D. Ring for D. Germyn (40 mins).

DOUGLAS: B. Boyle; A. Barry, D. McSweeney, F. Tobin; E. Cadogan, P. Barry, C. O’Mahony; M. Harrington, R. Harris; B. Fitzgerald, C. Dineen, W. Coveney; M. O’Callaghan, G. McLoughlin, S. Moylan.

Subs: J. Moylan for G. McLoughlin (HT), P. Greaneyt for M. O’Callaghan (47 mins), G. Wade for C. Dineen (54 mins).

Referee: David Copps (Ballyhea).

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