They had the confidence and specifically the ability to recover from a slow start and had the consistency to survive a challenge from Na Piarsaigh that was only weakened by some poor finishing.
It delighted winning manager Willie Coveney who commented that they could look forward to another two games, winning was ‘even more important’ because of the boost it has given the squad. “The win is vital and the way we did it, the fight (we showed). Obviously we would have preferred a better start.
They caused us a bit of trouble the way they were organising their puck-outs, but once our fellows tightened up and got on top, even though their goal knocked us back a bit. At times Cadogan was unplayable, especially with the space he was running into. From our point of view we are always a bit biased but he’s probably the form forward in the county.”
Na Piarsaigh selector Séan Óg Ó hAilpín was philosophical, accepting that they missed scores after drawing level ‘coming down the straight,’ but acknowledging that they were up against ‘a seasoned’ Douglas team. “I harp back to the Donal O’Grady days, when you look at the scoreboard and at the final whistle if you are not ahead, well you don’t deserve to win.”
The first half was notable for the impressive manner in which Na Piarsaigh opened their challenge with three points in as many minutes and, in turn, the way Douglas responded once they had found their form. While named at midfield, Cork defender Christophe Joyce lined out at centre-back and he was quick to settle, as was Alan Hogan who moved to midfield to partner Dayne Lee. Up front, John Gardiner was showing the value of his experience at centre-forward.
Not unexpectedly, the first Douglas score came from Cadodgan and showing speed, great vision and terrific ball control, he was to be heavily involved all through. And after Philip Shine began to make his mark at wing-back, Mark Harrington came more into the game at midfield, Steven Moylan contributing after he settled and Mark Collins also to the forefront as Douglas foughtt back to be level at 0-6 each by the 15th minute.
Shortly afterwards came the Na Piarsaigh goal, Pádraig Gould the scorer after he had the strength to ride a heavy tackle, but Douglas jumped in front for the first time in the 25th minute when Finbarr Desmond goaled, immediately after Gardiner hit a low ball into the goalkeeper’s hands at the other end. And at the break they led 1-9 to 1-7.
The second half was seriously competitive, with the issue in doubt right up to the closing minutes. And, while they were handicapped by some poor wides (13 by the final whistle), Na Piarsaigh remained strongly in contention even as Douglas stayed in front, with Mark O’Connor enhancing their forward unit with strong play and valuable scores.
Then, with ten minutes remaining, Douglas produced a second goal, the result of a splendid move involving Cadogan and the impressive Mark Collins.
Undaunted, Na Piarsaigh fought back with a point from play from Dayne Lee and two pointed frees from Keith Buckley and another from play to be level with only a minute of normal time remaining.
To quote Ó hAilpín, the game was in the ‘melting pot’ and it was Douglas who had the overall strength to get over the line with Cadogan and Conor Kingston scoring before Joyce got one back and the same two Douglas players countering with two late inspirational points.
A. Cadogan 0-6; F. Desmond 1-1; M. O’Connor 0-4 (1 ‘65); M. Dolan 1-0; M. Collins 0-3; M. Harrington and C. Kingston 0-2 each.
K. Buckley 0-6 (4 frees); P. Gould 1-1; D. Lee 0-4; E. Moynihan (2 frees) and A. Hogan 0-2 each; I. McDonnell, C. Joyce and S. Forde 0-1 each.
T. Delaney; K. Hayes Curtin, R. Keating, P. Clarke; C. Sheehan, S. Fogarty, P. Shine; S. Moylan, M. Harrington; M. Collins, M. O’Connor, C. Kingston; A. Cadogan, F. Desmond, M. Dolan.
L. McGrath for Hayes Curtin (ht); J. Collins for Shine (42); A. Barry for Sheehan (inj. 47); E. Cadogan for Dolan (58).
A. Keating; A. Brady, E. Gunning, E. Moynihan; R. McGregor, C. Joyce, C. Buckley (capt.); D. Lee, A. Hogan; S. Forde, J. Gardiner, P. Rourke; P. Gould, I. McDonnell, K. Buckley.
A. Dennehy for McGregor (38); D. Gunning for McDonnell (52); EW. Hanifin for Gardiner (60).
Cathal McAllister (Aghada).