St Oliver Plunkett’s 0-14
JOHN MURPHY REPORTS
DEPLETED Dohenys looked in trouble at half-time of this RCM Tarmacadam junior A hurling championship first-round clash at Ballinacarriga.
They trailed St Oliver Plunkett’s by 0-10 to 0-6 with the Magpies’ Kevin Coffey in scoring form in the first half.
But, and similar to their preliminary round game against Clonakilty, the Saints form took an alarming nosedive in the second half, while Dohenys were boosted by a 32nd minute goal from corner-forward Aidan O’Donovan.
With their tails up Dohenys went from strength to strength. They took control in key sectors and with America-bound Mark Buckley outstanding and superb back-up service from Eoin Lavers, Johnny Kelly, Tadhg O’Leary, Brendan McCarthy, Chris Cronin and O’Donovan, Plunkett’s lead was eroded.
Buckley scored a trio of points (two frees) – with a free by the unerring Kevin Coffey sandwiched in between – and the scores were deadlocked 1-9 to 0-12 by the 38th minute.
Buckley and Chris Cronin split the Plunkett’s posts but a well-directed free by Coffey still left it all to play for, 1-11 to 0-13, with seven minutes left.
But then the lethal Aidan O’Donovan poached his second goal with a delightful abbreviated swing in a crowded Plunkett’s goalmouth.
Bravely, Coffey replied from a dead ball, but it was too little, too late.
It had been so different in the opening half as Plunkett’s, assisted by the breeze, had shown early promise. Buckley pointed a free. Conor McCarthy equalised after a nice delivery from the impressive Ronan McCarthy. Johnny Kelly and MP Keohane exchanged points. Buckley and Coffey traded frees. It was 0-3 apiece at the close of the opening quarter.
Then four unanswered frees between the 16th and 21st minutes by the classy Coffey saw the Ahiohill lads open up a four-point gap. Niall O’Driscoll added to the lead but two superb scores by Buckley and Conor McCarthy, who was foraging hard in the Plunkett’s cause in attack, left it 0-9 to 0-4 with four minutes to the interval.
Buckley and Coffey again bisected the uprights as a vital Chris Cronin point left Dohenys four down at the break – and then came the second-half comeback.
While both teams were depleted Dohenys selector Declan Lavers felt the players drafted in had stood up in style.
‘We are delighted with the win. We were well beaten by Kilbree in our first match (preliminary round) and they look odds-on champions, to be honest. We were short four or five lads tonight with exams, but their replacements showed great heart and spirit especially in the closing half,’ Lavers said.
‘We were missing Aidan (O’Donovan) against Kilbree. You saw the difference he made tonight. He is a great opportunist and took his goals superbly.’
Dohenys: Mark Buckley 0-8 (5f), Aidan O’Donovan 2-0, Chris Cronin 0-2, Johnny Kelly 0-1.
St Oliver Plunkett’s: Kevin Coffey 0-10 (10f), Conor McCarthy 0-2, Niall O’Driscoll, MP Keohane 0-1 each.
Dohenys: Stephen Daly; Barry O’Donovan, Tadhg O’Leary, Jason Daly; Sean Daly, Eoin Lavers, Noel Collins; Jerry Farrell, Johnny Kelly; Jerry McCarthy, Mark Buckley, Brendan McCarthy; Kevin O’Mahony, Chris Cronin, Aidan O’Donovan.
Subs: Darragh Collins for Noel Collins (ht), Ray Jennings for Kevin O’Mahony (56).
S. Oliver Plunkett’s: Michael Murphy; Ciarán Dullea, Gary McCarthy, Kevin Walsh; TJ O’Driscoll, Conor O’Driscoll, Eddie O’Driscoll; Eoin McCarthy, MP Keohane; Brian Walsh, Kevin Coffey, Ronan McCarthy; Niall O’Driscoll, Michael Collins, Conor McCarthy.
Subs: Liam Murphy for Michael Collins (45), Barry Ryan for Kevin Walsh (50, inj).
Referee: Alan Long (Argideen Rangers).