Sarsfields 4-15 Douglas 1-22
GOALS at critical times helped Sarsfields collect their second win in the Co-Op Superstores county senior hurling championship at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday evening.
They're now through to the knock-out phase with a game to spare, leaving the Douglas-Midleton tie to determine who joins them in the last six, five clubs and the winner of the divisions/colleges section.
Sars struggled to fend off a Shane Kingston inspired Douglas challenge and could only relax, when substitute Daniel Hogan struck for the fourth goal, three minutes into injury-time near the end.
Liam Healy's point opened up a five-point gap before Alan Cadogan pounced in the closing act with Douglas's lone goal, but it came too late from their perspective.
Sars's third goal after 41 minutes was another important moment, Jack O'Connor claiming his second after Douglas began the second half with four unanswered points.
And they repeated the trick after O'Connor's goal to leave them well in the hunt at 3-13 to 0-20 by the 53rd minute only for their defensive frailties to surface again.
There was a bright start with the sides level five times in the opening nine minutes before Sars pounced for a superb O'Connor goal for a 1-5 to 0-6 lead.
A very good team score led to a Mark O'Connor equaliser, 0-9 to 1-6 just after the water-break and Douglas edged in front with a Kingston point in the 21st minute.
Sars responded with three on trot, starting with a huge Daniel Kearney effort and they struck for a crucial second goal on the call of half-time.
Healy found himself with all the time and space to pick his spot with a rasping drive to the far corner of the net, Sars now 2-11 to 0-12 ahead.
Kingston carried the fight to Sars with some courageous play and a combination of impressive scoring from play and long-range frees.
His eighth, four minutes into the second period, reflected his plucky approach, taking some punishment en route to a rousing point.
But, a better-balanced Sars, who had Daniel Kearney again impressing at centre-back with James Sweeney a constant threat up front, always looked in control, despite finishing with 15 wides.
Scorers for Sarsfields: L Healy 1-6 (0-4 f), J O'Connor 2-1, D Hogan 1-1, J Sweeney 0-4, D Kearney, D English, A Myers 0-1 each.
Douglas: S Kingston 0-12 (0-6 f), A Cadogan 1-4, C Baldwin 0-2, C Kingston, E Dolan, M O'Connor, A O'Connor 0-1 each.
SARSFIELDS: A Kennedy; W Kearney, C Leahy, C O'Sullivan; K Roche, D Kearney, E Murphy; P Leopold, D English; D Walsh, L Healy, J Sweeney; A Myers, J O'Connor, C D'Arcy.
Subs: D Hogan for Walsh, half-time, T Óg Murphy for Leopold 35, B Graham for D'Arcy 45.
DOUGLAS: D Maher; B O'Neill, C Kingston, D Ward; E Cadogan, M Harrington (c), K O'Donovan; C Baldwin, S Moylan; E Dolan, S Kingston, M O'Connor; A Cadogan, S Donegan, A O'Connell.
Subs: C Lucey for Ward injured 45, C Russell for O'Connell 46, A Ward for Dolan 54.
Referee: S Stokes (Tullylease).