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Dohenys secure semi-final spot, but Ilen Rovers left in Senior A FC relegation scrap

September 15th, 2023 5:30 PM

By Southern Star Team

Dohenys secure semi-final spot, but Ilen Rovers left in Senior A FC relegation scrap Image
Dohenys manager Declan O'Dwyer.

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Dohenys 3-13

Ilen Rovers 1-15


THE contrast in emotions was clearly evident at the end of this rip-roaring local derby at scorching Drimoleague on Sunday following this crucial Bon Secours SAFC Group C clash.

Elated Dohenys were in high spirits, finishing unbeaten and a richly merited semi-final berth awaiting while injury-stricken Ilen Rovers had emptied the tank, but came up just short, leaving a relegation battle with Fermoy looming.

Goals win games, they say, and Dohenys bagged a hat-trick of majors in an immensely enjoyable joust of free-flowing football. However, the high-flying Dunmanway lads could never really shake free of the shackles imposed by never-say-die Rovers.

Fionn Herlihy and Colm O’Shea, two of the victor’s marquee players, gave them the ideal start, but in a game where the play swung from end to end at a frenetic rate Ilen hit the front in the 11th minute as Alan Holland’s perfect delivery saw the impressive Seán O’Donovan rattle the Dohenys rigging from an acute angle.

Dan MacEoin, who gave a masterly display racking up 0-8, put two more on the board, but Mark Buckley and Fionn Herlihy in two lightning sallies bisected the uprights.

MacEoin again delivered, but Ilen goalkeeper Damien O’Sullivan had to come to the rescue in the 17th minute, parrying away a blockbuster from the outstanding Rhys Coakley and then depriving Mark Buckley of a certain goal from the rebound.

Two white flags by Micheál Sheehy and Alan Holland, both working tirelessly in the Ilen cause, had the losers ahead, 1-6 to 0-6, by the 24th minute. But each time Dohenys worked the ball with rapid precision from defence to a skilful attacking sextet it spelt danger. So, it proved as able captain Keith White powered home the first of his two fabulous goals in the 25th minute.

Unperturbed, Ilen kept up the battle as the sides exchanged some cracking scores in the closing half. With the minimum between the teams, 1-10 to 1-9, Dohenys shot-stopper Stephen Daly produced a fabulous save to deny Donal Collins. The portents still looked positive when MacEoin again produced the oracle to bring them on parity at the end of the third quarter, 1-11 to 1-11.

Then disaster as Kevin O’Driscoll got a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident. From the resultant free, Rhys Coakley careered through the Ilen defence and crashed home Dohenys’ second goal.

llen’s mountain was now swiftly becoming an Everest to climb and while MacEoin’s free-taking was still inspirational, when Keith White crashed home his second and Dohenys’ third goal in the 52nd minute, it was a bridge too far for brave Ilen. Fionn Herlihy had the last say with a sublime point from an acute angle.

Dohenys manager Declan O’Dwyer was clearly elated at the win, but acknowledged that Rovers had really put it up to them.

‘It was hard-earned. In fairness to Ilen they put in a great performance, but we expected that. Regarding ourselves, we put 3-13 on the board, but left a lot of scores behind us. While we are thrilled to be still unbeaten and, in the semi-final, there is plenty room for improvement’, O’Dwyer emphasised.

Our Star: Dan MacEoin and Seán O’Donovan were excellent for Ilen but in a Dohenys side that had several top guns Fionn Herlihy was akin to the Scarlet Pimpernel – back in defence and up in attack, and he takes the accolade.



Dohenys: Keith White 2-1; Rhys Coakley 1-1; Colm O’Shea 0-4 (3f); Mark Buckley, Fionn Herlihy 0-3 each; Shane Barry 0-1.

Ilen Rovers: Dan MacEoin 0-8 (6f); Seán O’Donovan 1-3 (1f); Alan Holland, Micheál Sheehy 0-2 each.


Dohenys: Stephen Daly; Donal Rice, Sean Daly, Jerry Farrell; Cathal Daly, Johnny Kelly, Barry O’Donovan; Darragh Collins, Rhys Coakley; Adam O’Donovan, Colm O’Shea, Shane Barry; Keith White, Fionn Herlihy, Mark Buckley.

Subs: Aaron Mannix for Darragh Collins (35), Cillian Barry for Colm O’Shea (40), Bill Murphy for Shane Barry (51).

Ilen Rovers: Damien O’Sullivan; Sean Minihane, Donnacha Whooley, Dermot Hegarty; Peter O’Driscoll, Conor O’Driscoll, Simon O’Shea; Peadar O’Driscoll, Donal Collins; Alan Holland, Conor Harrington, Micheál Sheehy; Denis O’Driscoll, Dan MacEoin, Sean O’Donovan.

Subs: Kevin O’Driscoll for Conor Harrington (42), Marcus Adams for Denis O’Driscoll (45), Emmet Hourihane for Donal Collins (58).

Referee: Cormac Dinneen (Douglas).

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