The west Cork men summoned up the necessary fight and wit to chisel out victory in this dour third round tie that leaves them with enticing prospects for the season ahead.
Three years ago Dohenys travelled all the way to a county final and while they will need to crank up the gears to replicate that feat, emerging triumphant from this type of game will nourish their confidence levels for the rest of the season.
For Douglas, their season grinds to a close at a premature stage. Having reached county final day last season and lifted the Kelleher Shield earlier in this season, a third-round exit was not on their summer agenda. They were never able to replicate the excellence of 2008 here.
Both sides were in cold storage for ten weeks since their opening round tie and that was reflected in a match that never roared to life. The exchanges were compact and scrappy throughout, with flowing football conspicuous only by its absence. The conditions were a mitigating factor with rain spitting from the sky from the off and the players struggled to maintain their footing on the greasy surface.
Dohenys played with plenty of fire, with their heroic and defiant defensive effort the key to keeping Douglas at bay. Michael O’Donovan guided their fortunes impressively at centre-back while corner-backs Conor Collins and Alan Murray produced tenacious displays. They shot out of the opening traps in a sprightly fashion, possessing a 0-3 to 0-1 lead by the 12th minute.
Their first score signalled a central plank of their gameplan when Ger McCarthy pointed in the second minute. Yet Douglas defender Frank Tobin gave a terrific performance thereafter and holding McCarthy, who has blitzed defences all over the county in recent years, to just a point was a feat of some substance.
But with full-forward Denis Healy and corner-forward Pat McCarthy popping up with points, Dohenys had other early scoring outlets. In contrast Douglas only registered in the opening quarter through a free from Fergal O’Sullivan, whose placed-ball accuracy proved their only reliable source of scores throughout the match.
Douglas wasted chances with wides or dropping balls into goalkeeper Darragh Farr’s hands early on, but they pared those edges off their game before the interval. Neil Heffernan made a strong run from the left wing before fisting over, Shane McCarthy thumped over a beauty from distance and O’Sullivan slipped over another free.
Eoin Cadogan and Jonathan Lane began to impact more in defence, yet their play was hampered by their insistence on taking the ball into contact where it frequently spilled loose. Another point by Healy ensured Dohenys were level at the break, 0-4 apiece.
The second-half was a tense and grim battle. Dohenys were aided by the breeze, but despite registering through frees from Pat and Jerry McCarthy, Douglas matched them for scores. O’Sullivan curled a 37th minute free and John Farrell lofted over the score of the half seven minutes later. But Dohenys were now looking the more composed. Micheal Farr converted a point after a patient build-up (0-7 to 0-6) in the 46th minute, and then they relied on their defence to pitch in by soaking up the intense Douglas pressure.
It worked brilliantly and when Jerry McCarthy pointed a 59th minute free, they had a great two-point cushion. Douglas mounted a late effort, lead by Cadogan and substitute Ray Keating, but an O’Sullivan free was all they could muster in reply.
Scorers for Dohenys: J McCarthy (2f), P McCarthy (1f, 1 ‘45), D Healy, 0-2 each; M Farr, G McCarthy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Douglas: F O’Sullivan 0-4 (4f), N Heffernan, S McCarthy, J Farrell 0-1 each.
DOHENYS: D Farr; C Collins, P Deane, A Murray; T O’Donovan, M O’Donovan, N Hurley; M Milner, M Farr; D Collins, J McCarthy, P Collins; P McCarthy, D Healy, G McCarthy.
Subs: D O’Sullivan for D Collins (40).
DOUGLAS: B Boyle; F Tobin, E Cadogan, R Murphy; D McSweeney, K Hogan, J Lane; C Dineen, A Barry; C McCarthy, S McCarthy, N Heffernan; K Murphy, J Farrell, F O’Sullivan.
Subs: T Sheehan for C McCarthy (37), R Keating for Hogan (inj) (43), G McLoughlin for Dineen (46), S Bermingham for K Murphy (46), W Coveney for Heffernan (52).
Referee: N. Barrett (Carrigtwohill).