DOUGLAS anticipate having Cork star Sean Powter available for their second game in the Bon Secours county premier senior football championship game against Valley Rovers.
The city club began their Group 3 campaign with a 1-14 to 1-9 win over Bishopstown at Páirc Uí Rinn last weekend, but the speedster was missing due to injury.
“Seanie had a little niggle in his calf. We did a session on Saturday and debated whether to use him, but we’re trying to take a longer-term view,” said manager Ray Keating. “Had it been a knock-out game, Seanie would have started for us, but the more sensible option was to hold back.
“It’s nothing major, just a slight problem and it’s not the hamstring. He should be OK for the next game,”
Backed by the wind in the first half, Douglas went after the Town from the throw-in and compiled a 0-10 to 0-4 interval advantage.
“We only scored 10 points against them last year, so to have that number by half-time on this occasion was a bit different.
“We were six points after playing with the wind, but we didn’t want to sit back in the second-half because we wanted to push on again.”
Despite Niall Hartnett extending the lead inside 20 seconds of the resumption, Bishopstown hit back with a quick-fire 1-1 for 0-11 to 1-5 after 39 minutes.
Odie Devlin pounced for the goal after a high ball into the Douglas area wasn’t dealt with and the corner-forward took full advantage with an impressive finish, low to the corner of the net.
“I was happy with the way we reacted to their goal when Bishopstown got it back to three points.
“We drove on again and got the next three scores, which is the sign of a good side and good mental strength, too.
“I’m very happy with the result. I thought we started the game with some fierce pace and set the tempo for the whole game.
“It’s a young team with bits of experience sprinkled in there and is able to move at pace quite a lot.
“It was only our first championship game, having played challenge matches, and there’s nothing to compare to the championship, so the 60 minutes will bring us on.”
Cork hurlers, Eoin and Alan Cadogan and Shane Kingston, didn’t line out with the footballers, holding themselves in reserve for Douglas’s opening game against Ballyhea on Saturday.
Yet, they were still able to introduce five substitutes, including Darragh Kelly, who replaced the injured Sam Collins. And Kelly made his mark by scoring his side’s goal five minutes from the end of regulation time following good approach play by Cork’s Brian Hartnett and Conor Russell, who finished with 0-5.
“We have a very strong panel. We brought on five subs and if we could bring on another five we would.
“We had other goal chances and could have won by more than five points, but Bishopstown are a good side and there’s not a whole pile between the teams. They were always going to come back at us.”
The sight of Bishopstown players assembling in the stand and Douglas in the dug-out opposite on the far side of the pitch reflected the strangeness of the championship in these rare and difficult times.
“There are no dressing rooms. There’s no sense of a crowd at the game and these sort of challenges haven’t been met by players in the past.
“It mightn’t feel like a championship game in the normal sense of things and it could have started slowly, but we went at it at 100 miles-an-hour and went at them from the start.
“Speculation over the last few months left us all wondering about whether we’d get back playing.
“It’s been like a dream the last few weeks, though, good weather, good pitches, numbers at training are up and fellows are eager.
“It’s brilliant and really pleasing to get to play again,” Keating concluded.
Valleys lost their opening game to Nemo Rangers by 3-8 to 1-9.