Courcey Rovers 2-15 Douglas 2-5
THERE was no denying Courcey Rovers a place in the SE Systems Senior Championship final after an impressive 10-point victory over Douglas in Castle Road.
Courceys’ defensively were excellent, how they worked the ball out of trouble impressive. Their distribution is always meaningful, their deliveries intelligent. And inside, their forwards provide the necessary.
Two fast hurling sides delivered an exciting opening quarter and you wouldn’t have seen 10 points in it at the finish at that stage but the all-round strength of Rovers wore down the Douglas challenge.
Douglas opened with the strong wind elements but it was Courceys that went in four points to the good at half time and it would have been more only for three brilliant first-half saves by Jessica Kavanagh.
Inside the opening minute before Douglas had time to catch their breath, Linda Collins had the ball in the back of the net. It was the type of ball she loves, head high where she caught, turned and finished clinically.
Play was pacey, end to end, and just a point separated the sides at the quarter-hour mark. Courceys were getting more from their attacks but still just a goal separated the sides as both went at it hammer and tongs. The teams were level on 21 minutes after the gripping hand of Alicia Cremin again came to the fore and she gave goalkeeper Sinead O’Reilly no chance.
Fiona Keating was having a storming game at centre-forward, her searing runs, circulation and accuracy splitting the Douglas defence. Collins, Keating and two frees from Jacinta Crowley gave Rovers a deserved half time lead, Jessica Kavanagh having made another acrobatic save on 32 minutes to keep Douglas within a fighting chance.
A classy Christine O’Neill score inside twenty seconds of the restart signalled Rovers intent on reaching their second senior final in the club’s history. Linda Collins, difficult to manage, struck two more either side of a Katrina Mackey point and when Douglas won a free on 38 minutes, such was the run of play the latter had no option but to go for a goal.
Even though just six points separated them at that stage this game was only going one way. Mackey’s shot was blocked and with it Rovers continued to impress. The movement of the players, how they spread the play to find those in a better position, the pinpoint accuracy of those passes, saw them push further ahead. Keating hit another three. Collins struck one as a 10-point gap opened up.
Douglas kept battling but the game was over at the three quarter way mark. They made full use of their bench and drove on. Another Mackey free made the net on 61 minutes but it was Rovers and Linda Collins that capped off a great team performance in style, blasting a shot to the right of Jessica Kavanagh, giving her no chance.
It was an impressive hour by Rovers and on this display, they’ll be hard to beat. But they’ve been here before and one imagines they’ll keep their feet firmly on the ground this time around.
For now, they’re into another final and they’ll watch St Finbarr's and Inniscarra next weekend with keen interest.
Scorers for Courcey Rovers: L Collins 2-4, J Crowley 0-4 (0-3 f, 0-1 45), F Keating 0-5, Eimear O’Reilly, C O’Neill 0-1 each.
Douglas: K Mackey 1-4 (1-1 f), A Cremin 1-1.
COURCEY ROVERS: S O’Reilly; C Hayes, K Keohane, G Hannon; O Twomey, A Moloney, E Moloney; J Crowley, Elaine O’Reilly; Eimear O’Reilly, F Keating, Lorraine Collins; Linda Collins, C O’Neill, S McCarthy.
Subs: G O’Reilly for C O’Neill (53), E Maguire for Lorraine Collins (60).
DOUGLAS: J Kavanagh; E Kavanagh, A Curtin, S Mulrooney; C Nason, P Mackey, R Sheehan; M Mulrooney, C Noonan; K Holland, K Mackey, C St Ledger; J White, A Cremin, J Leo.
Subs: J O’Mahony for J Leo (h-t), A Walsh for C St Ledger (44), C Oldham, J Donegan for K Holland, S Mulrooney (56), E McAndrews for C Noonan (60).
Referee: John Horgan (Gleann na Laoi).