AFTER a thrilling U21 Premier 1 quarter-final clash with Shandrum, in Buttevant on Sunday, a better balanced Douglas won.
Coach Willie Coveney was delighted, as the city side prepare to take on another highly-rated outfit, Midleton, in the last four, with Sars, Fr O’Neill’s, and Blackrock on the other side of the draw. At minor level, three years ago, Douglas, thanks to Shane Kingston’s heroics off the bench, on his return from injury, pipped Sars in the final.
“The work-rate of our lads today has been immense. The players wanted the win and the battled all through. They have prepared hard all season.
“We have a very good bunch. In 2016, we were county champions and, last year, we were successful in the U21 A FC final. Today was a physical contest. We have a few minor injuries, but, hopefully, all will be right for the semi-final.”
Barry O’Driscoll, club secretary for the past two years, felt that hurling at this level, at this time of the year, is unfair, however.
“On saying that, we are thrilled with the win. A number of our players are also on the senior panel and we have a senior hurling league semi-final, against either Erin’s Own or St Finbarr’s, in the next week or so.
“This is our third game in this. We lost the opening game to Blarney, back in September, and then followed with a round-two game, where we defeated Na Piarsaigh recently.
“Now, the last Sunday in November, we have our third game, which is a quarter-final. We have trained very hard since last January. We have a very good bunch, with only one minor playing, Conor Russell.”
David McSweeney said it was a very tough game, which ebbed and flowed.
“The conditions were not ideal and it is not fair on the players. It could very well be mid-December before the final is played, whoever is in it.
“We had a lot of changes in GAA fixtures this year at national level, but there is no difference when it comes to playing our Premier U21 hurling finals.
“We are now facing Christmas and the new playing season is only about five or six weeks from starting again. Two players that played here today — our own Shane Kingston and Shandrum’s Tim O’Mahony — only flew in last evening from their trip with the Cork hurlers to Boston.
“This is anything but ideal, but it is the way it is. Many of our players are involved in colleges competitions and playing Harty Cup. There is no let-up for the good players. Hurling needs to be played when the weather conditions are at their best.”