Douglas 2-24 Midleton 1-23
DOUGLAS got their Co-Op Superstores Premier Senior Hurling Championship off to a winning start when overcoming champions Midleton in a high-scoring clash at Páirc Uí Rinn.
Plenty of heroes for Douglas but the individual scoring tally of 1-12 from Shane Kingston stole the limelight as he gave an exhibition in striking from start to finish.
The city side came out of the blocks quicker and in the space of two minutes, they had raced into a three-point lead from the sticks of Shane Kingston (2)and Mark Harrington.
Gradually Midleton began finding their shape and captain Conor Lehane led by example by splitting the posts in the third minute.
On the next possession, Lehane was on hand to slot over his second white flag but on their next possession, they should have raised the opening green flag.
Once again the artistry and skill of Lehane played in Luke O’Farrell but his thunderous shot came back off the right post into safety.
There was little doubt at this stage that Midleton were getting stronger as Douglas looked to be allowing them plenty of space but with Lehane driving his troops a third Cormac Beausang point in the 11th minute gave them a 0-7 to 0-5 advantage.
A monstrous Conor Kingston point was followed by a second from Harrington that brought the teams on parity.
In fairness, Midleton increased the tempo again and three consecutive Lehane points helped them restore a three-point cushion. The pendulum swung again as a brace of Shane Kingston scores helped them tie the game with six minutes remaining to the interval.
Douglas half-back Cillian O’Donovan is a sweet striker of the ball and when he struck over his second point in the 25th minute Douglas edged ahead by the minimum.
The Midelton scoring averages dropped for nine minutes and with Douglas punishing them at will it was no surprise they went in at the break commanding a three-point lead, 0-16 to 0-13.
Looking at the first half both sides were slack in the man marking department and with 29 scores registered a huge improvement in defending was needed for the second half.
On the restart, Douglas continued to dominate and Alan Cadogan, who had a very quiet first half, opened the scoring with a classy point.
Midleton’s Luke O’Farrell wasn’t prominent in the opening 30-plus minutes either outside of his missed goal opportunity but he clipped a point in the opening minute.
Douglas kept their momentum going and with Shane Kingston always looking for the ball Midleton had huge problems defending him.
Although the play wasn’t as open as we witnessed in the first half Douglas looked sharper in front of goal and they punished Midleton with a stunning move 10 minutes from the end.
Some tremendous hard work by substitute Daire Burke saw him place a pinpoint pass to Mark O’Connor who drilled a low shot past the keeper.
The city side were now on a mission and two minutes later they put a seal on the game with a stunning second goal.
A high ball was caught by Niall Hartnett and with Kingston running off his shoulder he took the pass and billowed the back of the net.
Credit to Midleton they responded with a late goal when a superb Alex Quirke pass was met by Luke O’Farrell who made no mistake from close range.
This was a statement of intent from Douglas in the manner they brushed aside the champions but the night belonged to a superb Shane Kingston performance that inspired his team to victory.
S Kingston 1-12 (0-6 f), C O’Donovan, M Harrington 0-3 each, M O’Connor 1-0, E Dolan, C Kingston 0-2 each, A Cadogan, D Burke 0-1 each.
C Lehane 0-10 (0-6 f), C Beausang 0-6, L O’Farrell 1-1, R O’Regan 0-3, S O’Leary-Hayes, P Haughney 0-1 each.
D Maher; D Murphy, S Donnegan, M Howell; E Cadogan, M Harrington, C O’Donovan; C Kingston, S Moylan; E Dolan, N Hartnett, D Harte; A O’Connell, S Kingston, A Cadogan.
D Burke for A O’Connell (36),B O’Neill for E Cadogan (36), M O’Connor for D Harte (49).
B Saunderson; E Moloney, L Dineen, S Smyth; C Smyth, T O’Connell, S O’Leary-Hayes; P Haughney, S Quirke; C Lehane, R O’Regan, S O’Sullivan; L O’Farrell, C Beausang, P White.
A Quirke for P Haughney (53).
Simon Stokes (Tullylease).