The Barr’s league form has been disappointing this season (W0 D2 L4) though there was little indication of league lethargy in the first half during which the storied Togher club enjoyed the better of the exchanges against a Douglas side forced to line out minus the services of Alan Cadogan.
Indeed it was a much changed Douglas forward unit to the one that came so close to contesting the 2014 County SHC final and, while they struggled for long periods to stamp their authority on proceedings, the impact off their bench – Mark Dolan and Shane Kingston caught the eye - brought dividends.
Dual Cork minor Kingston was introduced in the 34th minute and, while the Rochestown College student took time to settle into the pace of senior hurling, he showed glimpses of class and has the physique and the temperament to succeed at this level.
Mark O’Connor’s marksmanship also caught the eye though the full forward will be disappointed with a few chances he missed in a five minute period after the break.
Douglas manager, Cathal Collins, knows work needs to be done if his charges are to match the progress of last season. “It’s not a performance we’d be happy with,” he admitted. “But it’s a win. I always thought it would be hard to get over this one. We’d always be nervous of the Barr’s – they’re a very proud club and they were never going to come here and hand us the championship match.”
The Barr’s showed encouraging signs in the first half, and were very much in this contest up to the 45th minute mark but Douglas’ greater energy and more potent forward unit proved the difference in the end.
“At half time we were in a good position,” said Barr’s manager, John Cremin.
“The game was there for the taking. We didn’t play well in the second half and, in fairness to Douglas, they upped their game considerably after the break and we were beaten by a better team.”
Barr’s corner back John Neville was the outstanding player on view, and the long-serving man-marker was ably assisted by goalkeeper David O’Gorman, Jamie Burns and Cian Walsh while Damien Cahalane led by example from, first the right wing back position before moving across his line to curb the influence of his Castlehaven football team-mate, Mark Collins.
Douglas started promisingly, Mark Collins notching two lovely efforts inside four minutes, though Enda Dennehy added to Ian Lordan’s 3rd minute minor to level matters. Philip Kelleher then got on the score-sheet before a beautiful long range effort off the hurl by Cahalane and another from Lordan pushed the Barr’s 0-5 0-2 in front by the 12th minute before Aaron Ward angled a beauty from a seemingly impossible angle to keep Collins’ charges in touch.
Cahalane was sending telling reminders to Cork manager, Jimmy Barry-Murphy, when he landed a monster effort in the 14th minute before Kelleher caught a high ball in the square, was hauled down and excellent referee, Nathan Wall, awarded the Barr’s a penalty. Ian Lordan didn’t make a sweet connection with his strike and Tom Delaney saved in what was one of the few highlights of a first half that saw the John Cremin’s charges retire 0-7 to 0-6 ahead at the break.
Douglas did perform to a higher standard on the turnover: Colm Lucey, Paul Clarke, Colin O’Mahony and Eoin Cadogan put in eye-catching second halves, while Mark Harrington and Stephen Moylan took charge of midfield.
It was 0-9 apiece by the 49th minute with O’Connor landing a free and, from there to the finish, Douglas dominated. The game’s only goal arrived in the 54th minute when Mark Dolan showed wonderful pace and skill to shoot to the roof of the net. That made it 1-10 to 0-9, and Douglas, fired by Dolan’s brilliant effort, raised their game another notch, adding points from O’Connor (3) and a lovely effort from Shane Kingston.
M O’Connor (0-8, 3 ‘65s’; 3 frees); M Collins (0-2); P Beale, M Harrington, A Ward and S Kingston (0-1 each)
I Lordan (0-4, 1 free; 1 ‘65’); D Cahalane (0-2); E Dennehy, E Finn, P Kelleher (0-1 each).
T Delaney; P Clarke, C Lucey, C O’Mahony; P Beale, E Cadogan, T Cullinane; M Harrington (capt), S Moylan; M Collins, C Kingston, E Dolan; F Desmond, M O’Connor, A Ward.
S Kingston for Ward (inj, 34), M Dolan for E Dolan (37), P Shine for Beale (inj. 39); J Moylan for C Kingston (46).
D O’Gorman; C Walsh, J Burns, J Neville; P Wiley, D Cahalane, D Quinn; E Keane, G O’Connor (capt); E Dennehy, E Maher, E Finn; I Lordan, B Beckett, P Kelleher. Subs: B Hennessy for Maher (ht), C Cahalane for Kelleher (45); C Keane for E Keane (51).
N Wall (Carrigaline)