Battling Killeagh back in business

AFTER crashing to a 16-point defeat in the opening round, Killeagh’s season has undergone a remarkable transformation after they fashioned an impressive success over Bishopstown in the second round of the Cork SHC in Caherlag last night.

The prospects for the East Cork men looked bleak after the drubbing they suffered against Glen Rovers but they have recovered admirably.

The desire to atone from their poor showing in the first round provided plenty motivation, according to their experienced attacking star Joe Deane.

“It just wasn’t good enough against Glen and we felt we’d left the whole parish and club down. It wasn’t about looking to win the Cork county senior championship tonight, it was just about avoiding relegation. Normal hurling goes out the window in those games and you’d be stuck in a dogfight with teams like Bride Rovers. We didn’t want that and this was our chance to avoid it. Relief is the main thing that we did that.

“We’ve worked hard over the last five or six weeks. The break did us good whereas Bishopstown probably had their own interruptions with football and Cork. We changed our team around which helped but we were without our full-back Pat O’Brien tonight. He’s the heart of the team and we wanted to win it for him.”

The loss O’Brien, who was hospitalised recently with an infection, was a blow to Killeagh’s rearguard but they coped without him to produce an excellent defensive performance.

Colin Fogarty and Kieran Lane shone in the central positions although Killeagh were aided by their opponent’s atrocious shooting in front of goal. Bishopstown’s approach play all night was good but converting that possession into white flags proved difficult. They chalked up 19 wides over the hour, 12 of those in the second-half, and that inaccuracy was a key reason why they will be facing Bride Rovers in the third round next Saturday night.

Killeagh altered their team from the opening game with Brendan Barry shifted up to attack while Sean Long returned from injury to line out at full-forward.

Deane provided his customary brilliance from placed balls while Andy Walsh’s direct running caused problems for the Bishopstown defence. Barry thrived in attack, firing over three lovely points in the opening 20 minutes, to help propel Killeagh into a 0-7 to 0-4 advantage.

Eoghan Loughlin and Deane extended that lead further, and despite Shane O’Neill powering his team on from full-back, Bishopstown struggled to get a foothold in the game. They had coughed up early scoring chances yet a spree of points from Thomas and Brian Murray ensured they were only 0-9 to 0-7 adrift at the interval.

However, they failed to build on that momentum after the break. Two brilliant scores from the left wing by Ronan Conway and Michael Power left them only trailing 0-10 to 0-9 by the 40th minute but critically Bishopstown failed to score for the remainder of the game and struck eight wides during that time frame.

They failed to fashion a clearcut goalscoring chance either, a snapshot from distance by Brian Murray that was beaten away by Bernard Rochford was their best opening. That Bishopstown stayed in the hunt until the finish was largely due to the outstanding goalkeeping of Ken O’Halloran. He twice denied Walsh a goal by bravely blocking the ball, following on from a superb stop in the first-half after Long stole in on goal.

Killeagh were content to soak up the Bishopstown pressure at the back and up front the assured marksmanship of Deane helped increase their advantage. He fired over three frees and a brilliant ‘65 from the sideline in the closing quarter. That string of scores and ensured they can look forward to tonight’s fourth round draw with enthusiasm.

Scorers for Killeagh: J Deane 0-8 (0-6f, 0-1 ‘65), B Barry 0-3, A Walsh, S Long, E Loughlin 0-1 each.

Scorers for Bishopstown: T Murray 0-4 (0-3f), D Crowley, B Murray, M Power, R Conway, P Cronin (0-1f) 0-1 each.

KILLEAGH: B Rochford; P McCarthy, Colin Fogarty, P McGrath; B Collins, K Lane, Cian Fogarty; L Collins, P O’Neill; B Barry, A Keniry, A Walsh; E Loughlin, S Long, J Deane.

Subs: D Cahill for Loughlin (50), M Landers for L Collins (58).

BISHOPSTOWN: K O’Halloran; I Jones, S O’Neill, B Lane; D Hickey, P Honohan, J Murphy; D Lester, P Cronin; R Conway, M Power, B Murray; E McCarthy, D Crowley, T Murray.

Subs: J O’Sullivan for Hickey (51), B Coffey for McCarthy (53).

Referee: David Copps (Ballyhea).

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