Set against the fork-lightning of their fourth round encounter against Midleton, this was gentle candlepower for Douglas on Saturday in the Cork SHC quarter-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Without bruise, without scrape, without scratch they sauntered into the penultimate round, any concerns the expectation from scalping the holders would be too burdensome allayed in the process.
If that fourth round win was a lesson in dogged determination, the dismissal of Youghal was an impressive exercise in ruthless exposure. Above everything else though, was this yet another statement of intent from Cathal Collins’ side.
From early on, Douglas identified their opponent’s pressure points, swiftly tightening the noose. Leading the assault, one Alan Cadogan. The 21-year old bettered his 0-5 contribution from the previous Sunday, 1-5 on this occasion. His goal arrived nine minutes it, pulling the sliotar to the net after ‘keeper Richie Cunningham saved Mark O’Connor’s initial drive.
The opening major followed white flags from the above mentioned pair, moving Douglas 1-3 to 0-2 ahead. Youghal, to be fair, didn’t hang about in posting their response. Little over a minute later Mark O’Connor found himself one-on-one with Cunningham, the latter equal to the full-forward’sattempted lob. Possession was worked down the other end of the field, Ollie Dempsey providing the final pass to Brett Moloney and the corner-forward unleashed a powerful strike to the top right corner of Tom Delaney’s goal. We had a game on our hands. Or so we thought.
With the Douglas rearguard enjoying the better of exchanges with the Youghal forward unit, Eoin Cadogan and Frank Tobin most effective in keeping the tightest of leashes on Bill Cooper and co, the supply lines to their inside trio at the Blackrock end flowed ominously.
Mark O’Connor sniped a pair of frees and, added to a second Alan Cadogan white flag the gap stretched to four (1-6 to 1-2). Brendan Ring disrupted Douglas momentum with his third free on 20 minutes. Alas, it proved momentary respite. The nub of Youghal’s difficulties was their attacking shortcomings. High ball after hall ball was pumped in but to absolutely no effect. A Plan B then they did not have. Just two scores from open play could they muster in the opening 30 minutes.
Stephen Moylan and Cadogan, proving nothing short of a nightmare for the Youghal full-back line, chipped in with further points and the contest was all but ended on the stoke of half-time.
Mark Harrington’s delivery was safely gathered by Richie Cunningham, the goalkeeper, however, hesitated with his clearance and was blocked down by O’Connor. Mark Collins snapped up the breaking ball and blasted to an empty net. Douglas 2-10, Youghal 1-4. Game, set and match.
“We were expecting Youghal to come in here hammer and tongs. In the first-half there was very little in it. We got a couple of scores towards the end of the first-half to put us ahead. It was going to be a pressure game more than a hard game,” said manager Cathal Collins.
“There was a lot of pressure on the lads coming down here after beating Sars and then Midleton last week. There was bound to be pressure to perform. We have a very young team. They performed very well. They settled. We asked them not to panic and they didn’t.
“We have three weeks to get our feet back on the ground. We have nothing won. We are only in the semi-final and we have been there before. The lads realise as much and aren’t going to lose the run of themselves.”
The second-half was nothing more than a procession with Christy Cooney’s charges offering little or no resistance to the ferocity and movement of the winner’s play.
Cadogan, Collins, O’Connor, Philip Shine and the Moylans, James and Stephen, all split the posts as the favourites ran out most comfortable 14-point victors.
“We will take the Glen or Ballymartle. We are not concerned who we are playing in the semi. Whoever we get it will be a dogfight,” continued Collins.
A dogfight this most certainly was not.
Scorers for Douglas: A Cadogan (1-5); M O’Connor (0-6, 0-4 frees); M Collins (1-2); S Moylan (0-3); P Shine, A Ward, M Harrington J Moylan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Youghal: B Ring (0-5, 0-4 frees); B Moloney (1-1); B Cooper, D Ring (0-1 free), A Curtin (0-1 each).
DOUGLAS: T Delaney; F Tobin, C Lucey, P Shine; M McGrath, E Cadogan, P Clarke; M O’Callaghan, M Harrington; M Collins, J Moylan, S Moylan; A Ward, M O’Connor, A Cadogan.
Subs: O Mulrooney for O’Callaghan (37 mins); P Barry for J Moylan (48); S Fogarty for Clarke (52); E Dolan for O’Connor (52); D Cuthbert for E Cadogan (56).
YOUGHAL: R Cunningham; B O’Sullivan, J Grace, B Ring; M Ó Cróinín, C Spillane, K Walsh; L Desmond, N Roche; B Cooper, A Frahill O’Connor, D Ring; B Moloney, B Ring, O Dempsey.
Subs: C O’Sullivan for Walsh (half-time); A Curtin for B Ring (39); C O’Mahony (41) for L Desmond.
Referee: J Sexton (Ballyhea).