DOUGLAS will compete in the semi-finals of the Evening Echo Cork SHC for the first time in their history after they pipped Cork IT by a point after extra-time in a thrilling quarter-final at Páirc Uí Rinn last night.
In a match that throbbed with excitement and drama throughout, and was packed with top quality scores and stellar individual displays, a superb long-range free by Mark Harrington from the right wing in the 78th minute transpired to be the winning score.
CIT did have one late opportunity to force a replay but the free that Adrian Mannix struck from distance was tipped away by Douglas goalkeeper Brian Boyle as it looked destined to drop over the bar.
The tenacity of the Douglas defence deprived CIT attackers from creating space to shoot in the resulting fight for possession and they were able to hold their lines to set up a last four meeting with Glen Rovers next weekend.
Having only been promoted to senior ranks this season, their progression to the semi-final marks this campaign as an impressive one for Douglas.
Key attackers Mark Harrington and Stephen Moylan once more excelled as they divvied up 1-13 between them, while Phillip Shine, Eoin Cadogan, Barry Fitzgerald and James Moylan produced big displays as well.
Their star man was Mark Collins whose return of a single point masked a performance of boundless energy and determination, and it was appropriate that final whistle blew after he had soared high to claim possession in midfield.
Defeat was a sickening blow for CIT, who contributed greatly to the enjoyment and quality levels in this clash. Eoin Dillon and Ross Cashman anchored their defence splendidly while in attack Simon O’Brien, Brian Corry, Tony Murphy and Michael O’Sullivan all sparkled at various phases .
The first-half was an extremely tight affair with Douglas’s battling qualities ensuring they edged ahead 0-11 to 1-7 at the interval.
CIT had made the early running with the Carrigaline duo of Simon O’Brien and Tony Murphy causing problems for the Douglas rearguard.
O’Brien flashed over a few fine points and Murphy’s 20-yard free in the 17th minute squirmed past the Douglas defence on the line into the bottom corner, to hand CIT a 1-6 to 0-4 advantage. But Douglas recovered admirably with Fitzgerald lofting over a pair of fine points and a Collins point nudged them ahead at the break.
CIT forged ahead early in the second-half with Adrian Mannix and Leigh Desmond on target with points, and then Murphy rammed in his second goal from a 20-yard free in the 38th minute to send them 2-10 to 0-12 ahead. The drama was far from finished. Douglas charged forward to notch two goals with James Moylan firing home in the 40th minute after his brother Stephen made the hard yards and then Harrington lashed a close-range free to the roof of the net four minutes later.
Douglas remained in the ascendancy during the finale and when Harrington clipped over a point with in the 52nd minute, they were in front 2-15 to 2-13. However, CIT rallied strongly with Desmond, Murphy and O’Sullivan rattling off points to put them into the lead, and it took a Stephen Moylan free to tie the teams at 2-16 apiece.
In extra-time the action continued to ebb and flow. Moylan and Harrington grabbed early points for Douglas, before McLoughlin raised a white flag and then CIT substitute John Sheedy rifled to the net after a wonderful pass by Colin Fennelly. Douglas regained the initiative with a series of stylish scores by the Moylan brothers, Colm Lucey and Finbarr Desmond created a 2-22 to 3-17 advantage at the midway mark of extra-time.
CIT had soon regained equality by the 72nd minute courtesy of points by Corry and Mannix before Corry pushed the students into a slender advantage. The Douglas challenge appeared to be flagging but they summoned a storming finish with James Moylan from play and Harrington from a placed ball delivering a stunning success.
Scorers for Douglas: M Harrington 1-5 (1-1 frees); S Moylan 0-8 (four frees, one sideline); J Moylan 1-2; F Desmond, B Fitzgerald, O Mulrooney 0-2 each; C Lucey, E Cadogan (one free), M Collins 0-1 each.
Scorers for Cork IT: T Murphy 2-1 (2-1 frees); B Corry 0-5; A Mannix (one ‘65, one free), S O’Brien 0-4 each; M O’Sullivan 0-3; J Sheedy 1-0; L Desmond 0-2; L McLoughlin 0-1.
DOUGLAS: B Boyle; R Keating, A Barry, P Shine; C Lucey, E Cadogan, F Cronin; B Fitzgerald, J Collins; M Collins, S Moylan, O Mulrooney; M Harrington, J Moylan, F Desmond. Subs: C Dineen for Cronin (53); D McSweeney for Shine (72); C O’Mahony for J Collins (74).
CORK IT: J Condon (Fermoy); D Duggan (Courcey Rovers), E Dillon (Milford), E Clancy (Fermoy); S White (Ballygarvan), R Cashman (Kilbrittain), B O’Sullivan (Fermoy); L McLoughlin (Kanturk), A Mannix (Kilworth); S O’Brien (Carrigaline), B Corry (Ballymartle), C Casey (Inniscarra); T Murphy (Carrigaline), M O’Sullivan (Tracton), S O’Mahony (Inniscarra).
Subs: L Desmond (Youghal) for Casey (23); C Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks, Kilkenny) for O’Mahony (half-time); S Daniels (De La Salle, Waterford) for Clancy (45); J Maher (St Martin’s, Kilkenny) for Mannix (50); J Sheedy (Portroe, Tipperary) for O’Brien (60); Mannix for McLoughlin (70); Clancy for Duggan (70); G O’Rourke (Newcestown) for O’Sullivan (76).
Referee: Cathal McAllister (Aghada).
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