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Cronin the inspiration as ’Town sparkle

Douglas 1-14 Bishopstown 1-20
Bishopstown were far too clinical for Douglas in yesterday’s Cork SHC fourth-round game in sunny Páirc Uí Chaoimh, an encounter which swung on a seven-minute period in the second half, when Bishopstown hit five points on the trot.

Their scoring spree put daylight between themselves and their opponents, who couldn’t work a goal until the game was deep in injury time and beyond their reach.

Bishopstown began the game well, with a fine long-range point from centre-back Ian Jones helping them to an early lead, but Douglas settled quickly. With their full-forward Richard Murphy roving outield, away from the attentions of Cork defender Shane O’Neill, they won plenty of possession around their own half-forward line, and they also won plenty of frees.

Murphy’s accuracy from placed balls, as well as points from Mark Collins and Alan Cadogan put Douglas four points to two ahead by the 12th minute.

Michael Power levelled matters with two good points from play for the men in maroon and white, though, and then two Patrick Cronin frees put ‘Town two ahead.

Murphy then pointed a Douglas free before his namesake James responded for Bishopstown, but two more Douglas frees – both struck by Murphy, inevitably — had matters level again on 23 minutes, with eight points apiece.

The sides swapped points as the half wore down — through Murphy and Cronin frees – before Cronin had the last word from a long-distance free, sending Bishopstown in one ahead at the break, ten points to nine.

Cronin and Murphy swapped points from frees on the resumption but then Bishopstown took over – on 37 minutes Cronin pointed another free, then added another from play. Michael Power had a point, and Ger McGlacken surged through for another before Cronin chipped in with another free.

That made it 0-16 to 0-10 and Douglas were struggling. They put passing movements together and bore down on the Bishopstown goal more than once, but with Shane O’Neill marshalling the opposition rearguard, there were no clearcut chances created.

With the game entering the final stages Douglas pushed Cork dual star Eoin Cadogan forward, where he won possession but couldn’t bring his colleagues into play.

On 57 minutes the game was finally put beyond Douglas when Bishopstown hit the game’s first goal. Four points clear, they took full advantage when a short puck-out by Douglas went horribly wrong; Michael Power won the ball and got it to Pa Cronin, who batted the ball to the net from close range. Cronin went on to add a fine individual point just afterwards to make it 1-19 to 0-14.

In injury time Douglas managed that elusive goal when a Mark Harrington 65 went all the way to the net, but it was too late to make a difference. Their day went from bad to worse when Eoin Cadogan got a second yellow for retaliation and was sent for an early shower.

In a relatively low-octane game Bishopstown showed enough strength all over the field to suggest they’ll have a major say in the championship yet, though an over-reliance on Cronin for scores may have to be addressed, and in particular scores from frees.

Not every team will concede 0-8 from frees, as Douglas did yesterday, while Bishopstown’s goal chance was handed to them on a plate. Still, those are concerns they’ll be happy to address in their next outing.

Scorers for Douglas: R. Murphy 0-9 (0-7 fs); M. Harrington 1-0 (65); M. Collins 0-2; O. Mulrooney, A. Cadogan, C. O’Mahony 0-1 each.

Scorers for Bishopstown: P. Cronin 1-10 (0-8 fs); M. Power 0-4; G. McGlacken 0-3; I Jones, R. Conway and J. Murphy 0-1 each.

DOUGLAS: T. Delaney, P. Clarke, D. McSweeney, J. Collins, M. McGrath, M. Harrington, C. Lucey (c), E. Cadogan, C. O’Mahony, M. O’Callaghan, O. Mulrooney, M. Collins, A. Cadogan, R. Murphy.

Sub: F. Desmond for C. O’Mahony, 50.

BISHOPSTOWN: K. O’Halloran, D. Lester, S. O’Neill, C. O’Driscoll, M. Driscoll, I. Jones, R. Ryan, K. O’Driscoll, B. Murray, R. Conway, P. Cronin, T. Murray (c), J. Murphy, M. Power, G. McGlacken.

Sub: D. Hickey for K. O’Driscoll, 48.

Referee: G. O’Connell (Lisgoold).