Douglas 0-17 Ballyhea 1-11
It was far from pretty, but eventually, Douglas did enough to claim the two points on offer in this Co-op Superstores Cork Premier SHC Group A encounter played in Mallow.
They have much to work on and will be grateful to the contribution of ’keeper, Dónal Maher, who thrice saved them from conceding majors at vital stages, but overall they were just that bit more balanced than their counterparts from Ballyhea.
As a contest it was always absorbing if not quite exhilarating and both sides will be disappointed with their accuracy as they amassed 27 wides between them over the hour, Douglas with 15 of them.
The sides were level five times in total but the key score of the game came just before the second drinks break when Douglas captain Mark Harrington edged his side ahead, 0-10 to 0-9, with an inspirational score.
They outscored Ballyhea by 0-6 to 0-2 in the fifteen minutes that followed and what will please them the most about those six points is that they came from different players. Shane Donegan, Shane Kingston, Aaron Ward, Cillian O’Donovan, Andy O’Connell and Alan Cadogan reeled off the scores with Pa O’Callaghan and Eugene O’Leary responding for Ballyhea.
Kevin Copps then finally found a way past Maher but it was too late for the Avondhu side and Harrington, fittingly, had the final score to secure the city side’s victory.
Douglas had the better of the opening exchanges, though their profligacy in front of the posts would have been a source of frustration.
Alan Cadogan was a constant menace, always lurking with intent and when he wasn’t scoring he was being fouled.
He traded points with Pa O’Callaghan in the second minute before Shane Kingston did the same with John Morrissey to leave the sides tied at 0-2 apiece after ten minutes.
Kingston was struggling with his frees at this stage, with three going wide to the right though quick points from Cadogan and his apprentice, Brian Turnbull, settled Douglas into the game.
Maher then saved brilliantly from a deft flick by Gavin Morrissey before Cadogan’s third point left Douglas 0-5 to 0-2 in front.
It was Morrissey against Maher again soon after with the Douglas man again coming out on top and when Cadogan again followed with a point, Douglas looked to be clicking into gear, though the loss of Brian Turnbull to injury was a blow.
Ballyhea had other ideas, however, as they competed ferociously to bring themselves back into the game with Jamie Copps and John Morrissey on top at midfield. As ever, Pa O’Callaghan was central to their cause as he swung over five points in-a-row to put the north Cork side in front for the first time.
Two quick points from Kingston and Cadogan then gave Douglas a 0-8 to 0-7 half-time advantage but Ballyhea were well placed for an upset.
Kingston extended the lead with a free on the resumption before Maher made his third crucial save, this time from Maurice O’Sullivan at point-blank range.
What followed was a dog fight as Ballyhea threw everything they had at the city men.
O’Callaghan popped over two more frees to level things again but they never managed to edge their noses back in front. Then came Harrington’s score and from there on, Douglas did enough to take the spoils.
It leaves them top of Group A with Sarsfields, while Ballyhea face a must-win game against Midleton next weekend.
Scorers for Douglas: A Cadogan (0-6), S Kingston (0-4, 2 frees), M Harrington (0-2), B Turnbull, S Donegan, A Ward, C O’Donovan and A O’Connell (0-1 each).
Scorers for Ballyhea: P O’Callaghan (0-9, 5 frees, 1 ’65), K Copps (1-0), J Morrissey and E O’Leary (0-1 each).
DOUGLAS: D Maher; B O’Neill, C Kingston, D Murphy; E Cadogan, M Harrington (capt), C O’Donovan; C Baldwin, S Moylan; E Dolan, D Harte, S Kingston; A Cadogan, S Donegan, B Turnbull.
Subs: A O’Connell for Turnbull (23, inj), D Ward for Murphy (31, inj), A Ward for Harte (45).
BALLYHEA: M Browne; K Copps, A Barrett, C Cox; T Foley, L O’Connor, M Morrissey; J Copps, J Morrissey; M O’Sullivan, T Hanley, G Morrissey; L Crowley, P O’Callaghan, E O’Leary (capt).
Subs: J O’Leary for K Coops (half-time), E O’Sullivan for Crowley (40), K Copps for Foley (49).
Referee: Conor Lane (Banteer).