After building an interval lead of five points with wind advantage, they never allowed Douglas to settle in the second-half and were heading for victory before Páidí Crowley ended a terrific move with a goal at the threequarters stage.
Team captain Richie Hodnett said progress had been made since their no-show in Pairc Uí Rinn, commenting: “we knew we had to go back to the drawing board. We have worked hard throughout the season and we wanted to express ourselves today. We are up for any battle thrown at us.
“The goal came at the right time. It showed a great sign of teamwork, great communications and we worked it through nicely. We are very happy with the performance.”
For Douglas manager Tony Leen, while the long delay from their last game wasn’t ideal, it couldn’t be offered as an excuse: “We had two very competitive games last week-end up the country, both of which we won. I didn’t foresee this happening today. I thought we’d be a lot better!
“It’s hard to figure out. We have been going really well of late and I must admit, quietly, I would have been confident. We made too many errors. Our work-rate at times left questions.
“The way we played in the first-half I was still okay with 8-3 at half-time. I thought we’d push on, but we just didn’t get enough from midfield on. The big difference for me is that they pressed us very well and we didn’t press them well when they were on the ball. I would have no qualms with the result.”
It was predictable O’Donovan Rossa would enjoy more possession after starting with wind advantage and, crucially, they had four points on the board after eight minutes, with just one in reply from Alan Cadogan. Indicative of the difficulty the city side had in creating openings, they managed just two more points before the break.
While a lot of ball was channelled into Cadogan’s left corner, he didn’t get too many opportunities to score and the attack found it difficult to penetrate. Conversely, the defence was coping well under fairly constant pressure, with Eoin Cadogan dominant at full-back, and the Mulrooney brothers, Odhran and Eanna, in particular winning a lot of ball at midfield.
In contrast, the Skibb side posed a more significant threat up front because they worked as a unit and weren’t over-reliant on Donal Óg Hodnett or free-taker Kevin Davis. Both combined very effectively and made important contributions overall, enjoying plenty of support from their half-back line as well as benefiting from strong play from Pat Gilmore in the middle.
Nevertheless, Douglas would have been relatively happy with their challenge until Davis and Mark Collins kicked late points — while Mark Harrington missed a scorable free — to see Skibb lead 0-8 to 0-3 at half time.
Alan Cadogan set up Johnny Lane for a fourth score for Douglas immediately on the resumption but that early promise wasn’t fulfilled. Attempts at short passing attacks were largely fruitless because of the strength of O’Donovan Rossa’s covering and Cadogan was too often isolated when the ball was played in long to him.
Four points from Thomas Hegarty and impact sub Iggy Dineen highlighted Skibb’s greater scoring power and combined with Crowley’s goal it put them in a commanding position.
Eoin Cadogan’s switch to attack was rewarded with a well-worked goal after 54 minutes (following which Hodnett almost put the ball in the net), but it was a case of too little too late.
Scorers for O’Donovan Rossa: P. Crowley 1-0; K. Davis 0-3 frees; D. Óg Hodnett, T. Hegarty, G. Minehane and I. Dineen 0-2 each; M. Collins, R. Long and C. McCarthy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Douglas: E. Cadogan 1-0; A. Cadogan 0-3 (0-1 free); M. Harrington 0-2; J. Lane 0-1.
O’DONOVAN ROSSA: R. Price; R. Hodnett (capt.), D. Hazel, E. Nealon; M. Collins, C. McCarthy, J. Keohane; P. Crowley, P. Gilmore; R. Long, K. Davis, G. Minehane; D. Óg Hodnett, T. Hegarty, C. Crowley.
Subs: I. Dineen for Gilmore (40); S. Crowley for Minehane (inj. 55); E. O’Donovan for Long (61).
DOUGLAS: B. Boyle; P. Shine, E. Cadogan, J. Collins; J. Lane, F. Tobin, K. Hayes Curtin; O. Mulrooney, E. Mulrooney; D. Hanrahan, M. O’Callaghan, J. Davis; R. Keating (capt..), M. Harrington, A. Cadogan.
Subs: T. Sheehan for Keating (h.t); F. Desmond for O’Callaghan (40); E. O’Sullivan for Hanrahan (47); D. McSweeney for E. Mulrooney (58).
Referee: James Bermingham (Bride Rovers).