That’s the story from this relegation play-off battle at Shanbally on Saturday where Douglas wore their crests with pride to stun the Barr’s and send their city rivals tumbling to a fall that will shake Togher to the core.
The Barr’s looked safe, Douglas needing a huge one to dig themselves out of a big hole. And though it was far from pretty, the tears of emotion from some of their old stalwarts at the final whistle said it all.
There was non prouder than coach Ronan McCarthy after a win that, for him, was akin to winning the Andy Scannell Cup itself. “This is a hugerelief for the club, we’ve been so unlucky all season losing to Castlehaven and Ilen Rovers, games in which we actually played well.We knew what we had to do today and the lads put in a super effort. I’m very proud of them.”
Huge disappointment for the Barr’s though, but they simply could not match Douglas’s burning passion for survival. No pitch markings, no scoreboard, rounded up linesmen for a game of this magnitude is baffling. But both sides got on with it and Douglas won the big prize at stake.
The opening half was full of tension — mistakes, bad shooting and some fussy refereeing by Peter Downey made for some very poor fare. But, with so much at stake, the order of the day here was survival.
Barr’s midfielder Aidan O’Shea was booked after only a minute as fired up Douglas got the better start, Mark Harrington twice pointing, one a free.
Ian Keeler did respond with a Barr’s point, but it was Douglas , playing against the breeze, who were playing the better football with Barry Fitzgerald restoring their two point lead, all this inside the opening five minutes.
Then a super Barr’s point from Ronan Curran, after good work by Roy Leahy, O’Shea and Ian Keeler, but it was Douglas who led 0-3 to 0-2 after the opening quarter.
Gary McLoughlin and Cormac Dineen were winning the midfield battle and with Eoin Cadogan and Dave McSweeney strong in defence, Douglas looked the hungrier side despite losing wing back Neil Heffernan with a dead leg.
Fionan Murray did tie up the scores with an 18th minute free, but the Barr’s were lucky at the other end when Kevin McTiernan had to make a terrific save to deny Harrington, who proved a real handful for Michael Shields all through.
Brian Boyle was equally alert at the other end when he denied Curran when clean through. But it was Douglas who led at the break, 0-5 to 0-3, thanks to points from Harrington and Dineen, though, in truth, if they had been any steadier up front, that lead would have been significantly greater.
It was all Douglas in the second-half though it took them eight minutes to stretch their lead with a John Farrell point after Alan Barry and Ray Keating had spurned glorious chances.
Leading 0-7 to 0-3 entering the final quarter Douglas looked good, the Barr’s just couldn’t buy a score badly missing the guile of Robert O’Mahony in attack A disappointing Murray missed a free, Leahy and Rory McCarthy spurned chances, it took the Barr’s all of 32 minutes to finally get their fourth and final point with a Leahy free. And Douglas took full advantage.
Playing their hearts out, Farrell, Tomas Sheehan and Harrington all dug the knife in to keep Douglas afloat and end the Barr’s glorious run in the senior championship.
Douglas : M. Harrington 0-5 (0-2 frees), J. Farrell 0-2 (0-1 free), B. Fitzgerald, G. McLoughlin, T. Sheehan 0-1 each. St. Finbarr’s: I. Keeler, R. Curran, F. Murray (free), R. Leahy (free) 0-1 each.
B. Boyle; R. Keating, E. Cadogan, F. Tobin; N. Heffernan , D. McSweeney, J. Lane; G. McLoughlin, C. Dineen; B. Fitzgerald, T. Sheehan, A. Barry; J. Farrell, M. Harrington, P. McSweeney.
P. Carroll for Heffernan (14m), W. Coveney for P. McSweeney (42).
K. McTiernan; R. Dwyer, M. Shields, D. Bracken; C. Lyons, M. Ryan, S. Fuller; J. O‘Donoghue, A. O’Shea; R. McCarthy, R. Curran, C. McCarthy; R. Leahy, F. Murray, I. Keeler.
B. Newman for Keeler (32m), C. O’Sullivan for Curran (35), P. Murphy for R. McCarthy (47), K. Kennedy for Murray ((55), P. O’Brien for Murphy (59).
P. Downey (Inniscarra).