Bishopstown’s battlers finally crack Nemo

It was a long time coming, but Bishopstown’s first Cork SFC win over Nemo Rangers on Saturday night was surely worth the wait.

However, the manner of it will have been most pleasing as they went toe-to-toe with the county’s most successful side over 160 minutes and managed to come out on top by the slimmest of margins.

When Barry O’Driscoll scored a goal for Nemo in the 46th minute of the game at Páirc Uí Rinn, deftly side-stepping Ken O’Halloran after receiving a nice Paul Kerrigan pass, they led 2-13 to 1-9 and the game appeared to be beyond the ’Town.

Crucially, they responded immediately through a Denis Crowley goal, his second of three on the night and fourth over the two games.

“When Barry got the goal, we needed a score,” said team boss Brian Cuthbert. “We hung on and hung on and hung on, we were fortunate I suppose, these tipped goals that Denis is getting are a great help, hopefully when the new rule comes in on Monday he’ll be even more dangerous! We had to dig deep. Let’s be honest, Bishopstown have been questioned for a long time about heart and determination, this bunch are sick of it, they’re going to try and do their best to make us a proud club and a proud team and I think tonight showed that.”

Between O’Driscoll’s goal and the eighth minute of extra time, Bishopstown outscored Nemo 3-9 to 0-4. Crowley’s hat-trick goal came in the 50th minute, after Jamie O’Sullivan and Michael Power had linked well down the left flank and Daniel O’Donovan, who finished with 0-8, levelled with a free.

David Hickey briefly put Bishopstown ahead only for Alan Cronin (named senior on the programme to differentiate between the younger Alan Cronin, known as junior) to tie it.

Luke Connolly made it 2-17 to 3-14 for Nemo as the game ticked into injury time but O’Donovan set up an additional 20 minutes for the second time in six days.

Instead of the previous game’s nip-and-tuck extra-time, Bishopstown went into overdrive, sub Conor Dorman and Alan O’Connor pointing before Dorman found the net.

When Fiachra Ó Deasúnaigh added a brace, it was 4-18 to 2-17. The attacker finished with 0-7 from play and came in for special praise.

“He’s been with John Maughan in NUIG, he’s doing medicine in Galway, and I think it’s brought him on a ton,” Cuthbert said. “Tonight was his night, he really, really stood out, when we needed the scores he got them.”

And yet, even at that stage, Nemo could not be written off. Luke Connolly hit two frees before the turnaround and, after Bishopstown’s Jack O’Shea was sent off, Cronin Senior scored an excellent goal from a tight angle before his namesake, corner-back Alan Cronin Junior, left just a point in it.

Just in case there wasn’t enough drama, referee Michael Collins had to retire with cramp, replaced by linesman Donal Sheehan, but unfortunately for Nemo the match petered out.

It was an outcome few could have foreseen at half-time, when they led 1-10 to 1-4. Despite conceding a goal to Crowley after just 20 seconds, Nemo were lethal in the opening half, with all six forwards having scored by the 15th minute, wing-back Brian Twomey, Connolly and O’Driscoll all shining, Connolly with the goal on 10 to put them 1-4 to 1-2 ahead. In contrast to Nemo’s flowing attacking, Bishopstown were finding things more difficult, mainly reliant on O’Donovan frees, but after half-time they were revitalised. Ó Deasúnaigh kicked three good points in the opening 10 minutes as they managed to reduce the lead to three points, while the movement of corner-back John McLoughlin to the half-back line led to a better supply to targetman Crowley.

Nevertheless, Nemo were in the driving seat after O’Driscoll’s goal, despite having wasted some good point chances. Nobody could have foreseen what would transpire from there.

Scorers for Bishopstown: D Crowley 3-1, D O’Donovan 0-7fs, F Ó Deasúnaigh 0-7, C Dorman 1-1, A O’Connor, D Hickey 0-1 each.

Scorers for Nemo Rangers: L Connolly 1-6 (6fs), B O’Driscoll 1-3 (2fs), Alan Cronin (Snr) 1-2, P Kerrigan 0-3, D Mehigan, Alan Cronin (Jnr) 0-2 each, M Dorgan, W Morgan 0-1 each.

BISHOPSTOWN: K O’Halloran; J McLoughlin, E Byrne, J O’Sullivan; E Deasy, M Power, N O’Donovan; D O’Donovan, A O’Connor; D Ó Deasúnaigh, D Hickey, I Jones; C O’Neill, D Crowley, J O’Shea.

Subs: C Dorman for O’Neill (ht), D Lester for N O’Donovan (73, inj), B O’Callaghan for Jones (77).

NEMO RANGERS: D Farry; A O’Reilly, S Twomey, Alan Cronin (Jnr); C O’Brien, B O’Regan, B Twomey; M Dorgan, D Niblock; W Morgan, P Kerrigan, D Mehigan; B O’Driscoll, L Connolly, Alan Cronin (Snr).

Subs: S McKeown for O’Reilly, K Fulgnati for O’Regan (both 69).

Referee: Michael Collins (Clonakilty) replaced by Donal Sheehan (St James’s) due to injury in the 77th minute.

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