Douglas 3-12 Sarsfields 0-13: Shane Kingston’s incredible comeback from injury was the springboard for Douglas to claim a first Rebel Óg Premier 1 MHC title as they surged away from Sarsfields in the closing stages at Páirc Uí Rinn last night.
Kingston, this year’s Cork captain, broke his fibula in late May but he had recovered sufficiently to be sprung from the bench in the 49th minute, with the sides level at 1-8 to 0-11.
His first puck was a brilliant strike from the left sideline and, though Aaron Myers’ eighth point tied matters again, the deadly attacker then had the game’s significant contribution.
After winning a sideline cut, he evaded a challenge and, rather than taking an easy point, rifled a shot across Colin Looney and into the net.
He followed that up with another incredible point before Seán Powter put the outcome beyond doubt, his clever batted finish making it 3-10 to 0-12.
By the end, a pair of Brian Turnbull points had served to leave eight points in it, with the defending champions Sars – featuring nine of the 2014 side – left wondering just what had transpired.
Before Kingston’s introduction, the teams had been level on six different occasions, with the game largely distilled into a shootout between Myers and Diarmuid O’Mahony, who scored 1-5 for Douglas.
Three from Myers had Sars off to a great start but Douglas gave early notice of their capabilities as a great Looney save was required to deny James Holland and, in the 14th minute, O’Mahony crashed a shot high to the net.
It was tit for tat for much of the remainder of the half, but late Sars points from James O’Leary and Myers gave them an 0-8 to 1-3 interval advantage.
A trio of O’Mahony scores on the resumption tipped matters Douglas’s way again, but Luke Hackett’s fine Sars point was followed by an even better one from Cian Daly to put Sars 0-10 to 1-6 in front.
A couple of wides seemed to indicate that Douglas’s nerve was wavering, but Turnbull levelled with a free before Myers’ long-range effort was answered by O’Mahony’s fifth point.
That was the cue for Kingston to take the stage and he delivered as devastating an impact as could be imagined.
Scorers for Douglas:
D O’Mahony 1-5 (four frees), S Kingston 1-2, B Turnbull 0-3 (one free), S Powter 1-0, E O’Brien, L Dineen 0-1 each.
Scorers for Sarsfields:
A Myers 0-8 (seven frees), L Hackett 0-2, J O’Leary, C Daly, L Healy 0-1 each.
C O’Driscoll; S Donegan, N Walsh, E O’Leary; D Murphy, R Howell, C Sheehan; E O’Brien, D Kelly; M McAuliffe, D O’Mahony, L Dineen; B Turnbull, S Powter, J Holland.
S Kingston for Holland (49), E Doyle for Kelly (53), S McGrath for Dineen (59).
C Looney; A Hackett, E Murphy, S Garvey; S O’Driscoll, K Crowley, D English; R Egan, J O’Leary; C Daly, L Hackett, P O’Driscoll; J O’Connor, L Healy, A Myers.
D Walsh for P O’Driscoll (39), Referee: J O’Leary (Mallow).
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