They pulled away from a plucky St. Martin’s side that gave their all but could not recover from a three goal blast from the champions.
There’s been an air of gloom over the City club since the dismantling of their footballers by Carbery just eight days previously. But what a difference a victory makes, and after back-to-back titles by this tidy hurling side, perhaps better days are on the horizon.
Certainly Bishopstown selector Johnny Crowley, who has tasted his own share of glory, was over the moon, knowing well what this victory meant to his club. Said Crowley: “This win will do a lot to ease the pain of last week. They are a great bunch of lads, they did exactly what was asked of them and after our first goal I thought we controlled the game. Fair play to St. Martin’s though for sticking in there. They never gave in. But I always felt we were going to win it.”
And in control they were. With Shane O’Neill giving a masterful performance in defence, blotting out Adrian Mannix, and with their forwards always lively and menacing, the St. Martin’s defence was under constant pressure, a fact highlighted by those three killer goals.
The champions opened in fine style and using the quick ball to good effect, raced into a four point lead after seven minutes. O’Neill opened their account with a ’65, Patrick Cronin followed, then O’Neill again with a free and finally the influential Eoin McCann, who had a fine match, and already St. Martin’s were in trouble.
However, staying calm and with Shane Russell and Mark O’Connor doing well in defence, they battled back well, whittling away Bishopstown’s lead with three frees from the hard working and reliable Paudie Lynch to trail by just a point, 0-4 to 0-3, after the opening quarter while playing against the stiff breeze.
Bishopstown looked that bit too complacent. Cronin was short with a free, O’Neill likewise with a ‘65 and Ronan Conway cut a sideline wide. But suddenly it all came right in the 18th minute when Cronin’s long delivery fell to Crowley and he crashed the ball to the net. What a fillip it proved.
Mannix, making no impression on the sublime O’Neill, moved to midfield but he got little change from Conway as the ‘Town upped the tempo with points from Conway, McCann and Cronin. And well in control in defence, where Brian Nunan, Maurice O’Donoghue and Timmy Creed were also solid, they hit St. Martin’s with a second goal just before the break.
This time it was Denis Young, in for the injured Thomas Murray, who goaled after St. Martin’s goalkeeper George Heskin had saved David Kennedy’s effort and it enabled the ’Town to lead 2-7 to 0-4 at the break and in control.
The rain abated for the second-half but never-say die St. Martin’s, a Kilworth-Araglin composition, showed they could hurl as they took the game to Bishopstown, looking for quick scores. Mannix pointed, Lynch pointed another free and moving the ball quicker they looked threatening. But they were stung again in the 37th minute by a third Bishopstown goal. And it was Young who got his second after Crowley, always menacing and the target man up front, touched on Conway’s delightful sideline cut and St. Martin’s had a mountain to climb.
Amazingly, Bishopstown, possibly sensing they had the game won, struggled subsequently, taking their foot off the pedal, though never looking like letting it slip. Lynch rowed in with a few more frees and entering the final quarter it was 3-8 to 0-8 to Bishopstown and with O’Neill superb, mopping up everywhere, only one result was on the cards.
St. Martin’s never gave up though. Lynch, so reliable up to now, missed a few efforts but they stung Bishopstown in the 50th minute when Sean Beecher cracked home a goal after good work by Paddy Kenneally. Too little too late though. Having struggled for scores, there was no way they were going to make up the leeway and despite being real sloppy with their shooting, Bishopstown finished in control with points from Kennedy and Cronin, confirming their superiority.
: Bishopstown: J. Young 2-0, P. Cronin 0-4 (0-2 frees), D. Crowley 1-0, S. O’Neill (0-1 ‘65, 0-1 free), E. McCann 0-2 each, R. Conway, D. Kennedy 0-1 each. St. Martin’s: P. Lynch 0-8 (0-7 frees), S. Beecher 1-0, A. Mannix 0-1.
: K. O’Halloran; M. O’Donoghue, B. Murphy, B. Nunan; T. Creed, P. O’Donoghue, S. O’Neill; E. Joyce, R. Conway; E. McCann, P. Cronin, J. Power; D. Young, D. Crowley, D. Kennedy. Subs: E. Ryan for Creed, T. Murray for Young, C. Dooley for Crowley, L. O’Grady for Conway, N. O’Callaghan for Power.
: G. Heskin; M. Kearney, S. Russell, M. Kenny; K. Whelan, M. O’Connor, J. Ahern; P. Kenneally, C. Kenny; S. Beecher, T. Twomey, A. Mannix; P. Hoye, M. O’Brien, P. Lynch. Sub: S. Allen for Hoye.
: G. Harrington (Carrigaline).