Douglas 0-20 Bishopstown 1-10
SHANE KINGSTON inspired Douglas to a clean sweep in their group in the Co-Op Superstores PSHC with a comfortable victory over Bishopstown at a sunny Ballygarvan on Sunday.
Already assured of a place in the knock-out phase before the start, Douglas were all the way winners in a hard-hitting encounter at the end of which Bishopstown were also happy and relieved to have preserved their status. They'll now face Blackrock in the quarter-final.
Despite missing out on the lone semi-final spot, Douglas followed up earlier group wins over Glen Rovers and Newtownshandrum with another eye-catching display which featured 10 scorers with Kingston supplying half their tally.
And to indicate further room for improvement their wide tally of 11 reflected their dominance against a Bishopstown side that set up defensively with former Cork player Shane O'Neill in a sweeper role.
And the fact that keeper and captain Ken O'Halloran kept a clean sheet against a Douglas forward line that has still to register its first goal in the championship helped go a long way towards securing top-flight hurling again in 2022.
Douglas set the tone from the start, when playing with the advantage of the slope and with a slight wind in their favour, as well.
They jumped 0-7 to 0-2 clear at the first water break with a string of impressive points from Kingston, Brian Turnbull, Mark O'Connor and even goalkeeper Donal Maher got in on the act.
He registered the fifth score, when receiving a pass and launching a huge effort from close to his own 20m line clearing his opposite number's crossbar for 0-5 to 0-2 after 15 minutes.
Bishopstown hinted at a rally on the resumption with impressive points from a James Scally free and another from Conor Hegarty to cut the deficit to to 0-7 to 0-4, but Douglas outscored them by 0-5 to 0-1 in the remainder of the half.
The excellent Stephen Moylan began the sequence of four unanswered scores as Kingston (2), Mark Harrington and Alan Cadogan found their range from play with Thomas Murray replying for the Town.
At 0-12 to 0-5 in front at the interval, Douglas looked to have the spoils in the bag on the change of ends with their defence on top, notably in the half-back line sector, where Eoin Cadogan, Harrington and Cillian O'Donovan played an ocean of ball.
The Town received a timely boost with the game's only goal after 41 minutes when Conor Hegarty's long delivery was pounced on by Conor O'Hora, who scored with a rasping drive, 0-13 to 1-6.
Douglas, though, cancelled it out by scoring the next three points via a couple of Kingston placed balls, a free and a '65, with inter-county colleague Alan Cadogan sandwiching another in between.
It left Douglas firmly in control at the second water break, leading by 0-16 to 1-7, as the Town were left calculating the permutations regarding the relegation play-off from scores elsewhere.
The fourth quarter took an eternity to conclude as the sides enjoyed an equal share of eight points, highlighted by Thomas Murray's first-time pull, which yielded a smashing score, and an equally impressive point from Douglas substitute Daniel Harte, who let one fly off the hurley.
As the clock ticked towards the final play, Bishopstown needed to deny Douglas a goal to protect their status, which they achieved.
S Kingston 0-10 (0-6 f, 0-1 65), A Cadogan 0-2, D Maher, D Murphy, M Harrington, C O'Donovan, S Moylan, M O'Connor, M Turnbull, D Harte 0-1 each.
J Scally 0-4 (0-3 f), C O'Hora 1-0, T Murray 0-3 (0-1 65), B Murray 0-2 (0-1 65), C Hegarty 0-1.
D Maher; D Murphy, N Walsh, C Kingston; E Cadogan, M Harrington, C O'Donovan; S Moylan, M O'Connor; E Dolan, A Cadogan, B Hartnett; S Donegan, S Kingston, B Turnbull.
D Harte for Donegan 47, M Howell for Walsh 52, N Hartnett for Turnbull 53, A O'Connell for O'Connor 55.
K O'Halloran; E Byrne, B Murphy, C O'Driscoll; B McConville, S O'Neill, J Scally; B Murray, K O'Driscoll; D Lester, C O'Driscoll, C Hegarty; P Honohan, C O'Driscoll, T Murray.
M Power for C O'Driscoll 37, C O'Driscoll for B Murray 58, S O'Rourke for McConville 64.
A O'Connor (Ballygarvan).