Douglas had eased into a 1-9 to 1-5 lead after Stephen Moylan’s 38th-minute point in Saturday’s replay, and nothing other than a first final appearance for the southsiders seemed on the cards.
They had begun the second half in brighter order after going in with a 1-5 to 1-4 half-time lead, their defence was superbly marshalled by Eoin Cadogan and without question their tails were up. Inexplicably, though, in the final 22 minutes Douglas were outscored by 1-6 to 0-2. That tells a tale.
Dean Brosnan’s goal was the catalyst for the Glen to turn things around while Stephen McDonnell led a superb defensive effort which put the shackles on Alan Cadogan and Mark O’Connor.
O’Connor’s free in the 54th minute tied the game for third time, but when the fat was in the fire it was the Glen who sizzled — two Brosnan points sandwiching a third from Conor Dorris.
A repeat of the 2010 final against Sarsfields awaits next Sunday, with the Blackpool side presented with a perfect opportunity to mark the silver jubilee anniversary of their last win. A third game in as many weekends mightn’t be a bad thing, according to manager Richie Kelleher.
“It might suit us,” he said, “because it’s 25 years since we won one and the club will go mad. If we had time to dwell on it, they’d go off their chuck, so maybe the week will suit us.”
Brosnan and Dorris getting the crucial scores was emblematic of the way the game as a whole went. While Cork star Patrick Horgan scored four points, all were from frees as his inter-county colleague Eoin Cadogan once again did an outstanding shadowing job. Though Frank Tobin also excelled in defence, Dorris and Brosnan finished with 1-4 and 1-3 respectively.
“Conor was brought off the last day,” Kelleher said, “and I said to him, ‘You’re coming off because you gave away four frees, not because you played bad. When you do that, you give the other team an advantage’.
“You saw it today, when he stayed on he got 1-4 and took over from Patrick. Dean gets vital goals when he runs at people. He’s very fast off the mark. I always say it, when we play well without Patrick, it’s huge. Some day he’ll explode.”
There was nobody exploding early on, with the first 17 minutes only bringing two Glen points as both sides wasted chances. Alan Cadogan’s goal, when he produced a deft shot while surrounded by a throng of defenders, got Douglas going and though Dorris responded shortly after with a bullet to the net, Douglas finished the half better.
Three O’Connor points left them 1-5 to 1-4 in front at half-time and with Stephen Moylan impressive at midfield they pushed on after the restart. That the Glen goaled through Brosnan immediately after falling four points behind was a blessing, however.
There didn’t appear to be much on when he picked up a loose ball out wide but a burst of pace opened up a chance for him and he fired home. Points from Horgan and Dorris followed.
At the other end, Alan Cadogan might have had a tap-in when O’Connor looked to pick him out instead of shooting himself but McDonnell made a timely intervention. Nevertheless, sub Finbarr Desmond responded and then Horgan and O’Connor exchanged frees as the prospect of extra-time loomed.
The clock had nearly reached 57 when McDonnell burst out of defence after yet another good piece of defensive work but his handpass was astray, into Stephen Moylan’s hand.
Unfortunately for him and Douglas, he sent the relatively easy chance wide of the posts and the Glen capitalised on the let-off as they delivered a turbo-charged last few minutes to set up the rematch with Sars.
Scorers for Glen Rovers: C Dorris 1-4, D Brosnan 1-3, P Horgan 0-4 (4f).
Scorers for Douglas: M O’Connor 0-6 (4f), A Cadogan 1-3, S Moylan, F Desmond 0-1 each.
GLEN ROVERS: C Hickey; D Dooling, G Moylan, S McDonnell; D Noonan, B Moylan, G Callanan; D Cronin, C Healy; D Cunningham, D Brosnan, D Busteed; P Horgan, C Dorris, G Kennefick.
Subs: S Kennefick for G Moylan (34), B Phelan for Healy (43), P Virgo for G Kennefick (47).
DOUGLAS: T Delaney; P Shine, F Tobin, E Cadogan; M McGrath, T Cullinane, P Shine; M Harrington, J Collins; M Collins, J Moylan, S Moylan; A Cadogan, M O’Connor, O Mulrooney.
Subs: F Desmond for J Moylan (h-t), E Dolan for Mulrooney (47).
Referee: C McAllister (Aghada).