Fourteen-man Killeagh produced a spectacular display to stun Douglas in the Cork SHC in Cobh on Saturday.
Complete underdogs, this was a memorable day for the east Cork club as they qualified to meet Carbery in round 3 and also ended Douglas’s interest in the championship.
The pride was clear as players and management celebrated with supporters following Nathan Wall’s final whistle, especially as they have been through a barren spell in recent times.
Former All Ireland winning captain Mark Landers is their manager and was clearly delighted: “A massive night for the club, a massive night for the team, the management and the backroom staff. We are training a long time and we have got a just reward. We have come out on the right side of a tight game which is fantastic.
“We were given a very hard draw at the start of the season,; we got Erin’s Own in the first round (lost 1-14 to 1-10). They had been in the county final last year and then to get the favourites Douglas who had two new recruits from last year in Cian McCarthy and Shane Bourke. You look at the spattering of inter-county players that they have.
“Tonight, is special, but it is more special because two years ago the club made a decision to stay up senior after being relegated. Building on last year’s success, you couldn’t be more proud of the way the players responded. The last 18 months have been very dark.”
Killeagh, who were full value for the win, scored two great goals in the first-half. And with attacking duo Eoghan Keniry and Gary Leahy inspirational in notching 1-11 between them, it was Leahy who supplied the winning point in the sixth minute of stoppage time.
For Douglas, small margins were the difference — a two-point loss to Cork IT in round one, and the minimum on this occasion.
They had to field without Shane Kingston who was ruled out through injury, and they suffered a further setback when Nathan Walsh limped off after eight minutes. And Alan Cadogan joined the casualty list towards the end.
In a game that was tied on 16 occasions, Douglas started the brighter, moving 0-3 to 0-1 ahead before the outstanding Keniry struck the opening goal in the seventh minute after a move that was started by Leahy and Andy Walsh.
The city club maintained a slight edge with Mark Collins impressive around the middle of the field and Sean Powter and Brian Turnbull dangerous in attack.
However, a second major, this time from Daniel Walsh, put Killeagh two points up. It took a superb block by Mike Fitzgerald to deny Shane Bourke, and when Turnbull pointed in the 37th minute it meant the teams finished level for the eighth time in the half, 2-7 to 0-13.
Play continued in the same vein for the second-half, as both teams strived to advance. By the threequarter stage, Killeagh edged it, 2-12 to 0-17. Cadogan (2), Shane Bourke and Cian McCarthy registering points for Douglas, but crucial replies came from Keniry (3), Andy and Daniel Walsh.
What appeared to be a major turning point was Daniel Walsh’s red card on 48 minutes.
But, Killeagh drove on regardless. Patrick O’Brien anchored a brilliant defensive unit that also saw Sean Long excelling.
And not only did Kevin Murphy and Brendan Barry do their job, they rifled over magnificent points as well. With one minute of normal time to go, they were still even, 0-20 to 2-14.
Turnbull put Douglas in front. But Killeagh were far from finished. Keniry levelled from a free before Leahy’s winner. Kudos too to goalkeeper Colin Walsh who kept a clean sheet despite a hectic finish.
E Keniry (1-7, 0-4 frees), D Walsh (1-1), G Leahy (0-4), B Barry, K Lane, K Murphy (free) and A Walsh (0-1 each).
C McCarthy (0-6, 0-3 frees, 0-1 65m, 0-1 sl), B Turnbull, A Cadogan and M Collins (0-4 each), S Bourke (0-2), S Powter (0-1).
C Walsh; B Collins, C Fogarty (Capt), S Long; K Murphy, P O’Brien, B Barry; M Fitzgerald, P O’Neill; K Lane, E Keniry, J O’Connor; D Walsh, G Leahy, A Walsh.
A Keniry for B Collins, D Cahill for P O’Neill (both half-time), S Smiddy for K Lane (51), D Ogbebor for C Fogarty (55).
T Delaney; N Walsh, C Lucey, D Sheehan; E Cadogan, S Moylan (Capt), M Harrington; M Collins, D Murphy; S Bourke, C McCarthy, M O’Connor; A Cadogan, B Turnbull, S Powter.
J Collins for N Walsh (8 inj), C Kingston for C Lucey (half-time), R Howell for M O’Connor (45), P Clarke for D Sheehan (bs 48-54), M Dolan for A Cadogan (60 inj).
Nathan Wall (Carrigaline).