DONAL O’SULLIVAN REPORTS
A DEVASTATING SPELL at the start of the last quarter saw a Mark Buckley-inspired Dohenys advance to the semi-final of the Cork Senior A Football Championship following a hard-fought victory over Knocknagree at Páirc Uí Rinn last Saturday evening.
In a game that struggled to flow for the majority, a Rhys Coakley point in the 44th minute drew the sides level, 0-6 apiece, for the fourth time, but from there to the final whistle it was all Dohenys.
Kicking 1-4 in a six-minute spell, the goal courtesy of a superb finish from star forward Mark Buckley who ended with 1-5, the West Cork outfit powered into a semi-final against St Michael’s.
In the end the scoreline probably flattered the Dunmanway men in what was a physical contest that took its time to ignite. While delighted with the win, their management know there’s room for improvement if they are to pose a serious challenge to the Blackrock outfit in the semi-final.
‘The first half was pure championship football. It was tight, tough and physical and we couldn’t seem to get the ball moving. It was always going to be that way, but huge credit to the lads, we know they’re fit and we felt we’d finish strong which is exactly what we did,’ Dohenys’ manager Declan O’Dwyer explained, before praising man-of-the-match Mark Buckley.
‘Mark has had a tough few days for one reason or another but he kept showing throughout the game. He got a chance and he buried it, and that was a massive score for us.’
It was a huge victory for the Doheny club and even more impressive when you consider they lost the services of their Cork U20 All-Ireland winning forward Fionn Herlihy to a hamstring injury after 15 minutes. Despite conceding the majority of possession, they battled hard and in the end that six-minute spell proved decisive.
‘Losing Fionn was a huge blow but credit to the rest of the lads, they stood up and drove on in the last quarter. Rhys (Coakley) played very well and his pace caused them a few problems. We know we are in bonus territory especially after losing to Ballingeary the first day out, but we’ll enjoy it and see where it takes us,’ O’Dwyer said.
It was Dohenys who started brightly and kicked the first two scores courtesy of Keith White (free) and Mark Buckley. Fintan O’Connor, who caused problems for the winner’s defence all evening, responded with a brace before the Doheny outfit were hit with a sucker-punch, losing influential forward Fionn Herlihy to injury. Another O’Connor point put John Fintan Daly’s charges ahead for the first time before three points in the last four minutes, the latter a monstrous effort from midfielder Eoin Lavers, saw the West Cork outfit lead 0-5 to 0-3 at half time.
Half time seemed to kick-start the Duhallow men as they kicked three in a row – courtesy of David Twomey, Fintan O’Connor and David O’Connor – to see them lead for the first time, 0-6 to 0-5. Despite having the majority of possession, they didn’t hold that cutting edge to punish Dohenys, and they suffered the consequences in a devastating six-minute spell that saw the game ripped from their grasp.
In the 44th minute, a marauding run by Rhys Coakley resulted in a point that drew the sides level for the fourth time. In their next attack, Dohenys centre back Jerry McCarthy found himself in acres of space and his dinked pass picked out Buckley. He turned his man and fired an unstoppable effort to the top corner of the net to put some daylight between the teams.
The Dunmanway men’s tails were up. They won the resulting kick out which saw the ball quickly transferred to full forward Keith White to split the uprights. He immediately followed this with a pointed free to stretch the lead to five with ten minutes to play.
A Fintan O’Connor free for the losers provided brief respite, but another searing Coakley run resulted in a point for Niall Hurley which was quickly added to by Johnny Kelly. Credit to Knocknagree who never gave up and they bombarded the Doheny rear-guard. Two goal chances went a-begging, the latter seeing Doheny goalkeeper Stephen Daly make a good save low to his left. The game was sealed in injury time thanks to two points from Mark Buckley, one a sublime effort off his left which saw Dohenys win by eight points.
Scorers – Dohenys: Mark Buckley 1-5 (3f); Keith White 0-3 (2f); Eoin Lavers, Rhys Coakley, Niall Hurley, Johnny Kelly 0-1 each. Knocknagree: Fintan O’Connor 0-5 (2f); David O’Connor, David Twomey 0-1 each.
Dohenys: Stephen Daly; Jerry Farrell, Sean Daly, Donal Rice; Barry O’Donovan, Jerry McCarthy, Cullen Barry; Cathal O’Donovan, Eoin Lavers; Johnny Kelly, Colm O’Shea, Bill Murphy; Fionn Herlihy, Keith White, Mark Buckley. Subs: Rhys Coakley for F Herlihy (15, inj), Niall Hurley for C O’Shea (51), Kevin Cotter for B O’Donovan (57), Declan Collins for J Kelly (61).
Knocknagree: Patrick Doyle; Andrew Sheehan, Daniel O’Mahony, Gary O’Connor; Gearoid Looney, Kealan Buckley, Michael Doyle; David O’Connor, Donagh Moynihan; James Dennehy, John Fintan Daly, Danny Cooper, David Twomey, Michael Mahoney, Fintan O’Connor. Subs: Padraig Collins and Michael Dilworth for D Moynihan and D Cooper (both 47); Denis O’Connor for D Twomey (52); Tadhg O’Mahony for J Dennehy (56).
Referee: Robert Whelan (Aghada).