In a game that had so many talking points, it has to be said the better team won, but it could easily have gone the other way had the Town not been so wasteful in front of goal. They kicked 12 wides, missed a penalty and played the last 10 minutes against 12 players.
A dreadful lack of discipline by the Rangers defenders saw them finish the game with 12 players after full back Michael Mennis, corner-back Enda Flavier and centre-back John O’Rourke were sent off for two yellow card offences. But they showed marvellous bravery in the face of enormous pressure.
Carbery’s indiscipline wasn’t lost on outstanding midfielder and selector Michael O’Sullivan who, nevertheless, heaped praise on his team-mates for the manner in which they won the tie.
“There are no excuses for the sending offs,” he said.
“That kind of indiscipline could have cost us dearly, and players will have to show greater control in tight situations, but thankfully we pulled through in the end. Having gone in at half time with a six-point lead we tended to go back into defensive mode which is a very risky thing to do. Despite losing three players, the lads showed great character and hopefully this game will stand to us as we face Castlehaven in the semi-final next Saturday.”
Ross were out of the blocks from the throw in and with ‘Haulie’ O’Sullivan and James Fitzpatrick giving them a stranglehold on midfield the scores came freely.
A goal by Declan Hayes, after a great fetch by O’Sullivan, set up the chance, that had Rangers 1-3 to 0-1 in front after 10 minutes and the die looked well and truly cast for the Town.
Poor handling errors by the Bishopstown defence turned the football over far too easily and the eager Carbery attacks made them pay with a succession of points to lead 1-6 to 0-2 coming up to half time, the city side still to score from play.
It wasn’t as if the Town didn’t create chances – they did and plenty of them – but faulty finishing cost them dearly. They kicked 11 wides in the opening half and when David Hickey had a penalty saved by Ross keeper Maurice Moloney, it was hard to see the city side get anything from this game. A 1-6 to 0-3 half time lead looked comfortable for the West Cork side but with three defenders threading warily on yellow cards, the inevitable happened in the second-half.
Bishopstown introduced Paul Honohan at the interval and he added badly needed punch to their attack. In the space of five minutes the Rangers were reduced to 13 after Favier and O’Rourke got their marching orders and were rattled as the Town cut the deficit to a goal with three unanswered points.
However, Carbery displayed commendable heart and four points in a row, two by former inter-county player John Hayes, steadied the nerves and had them six to the good with 10 minutes of normal time to go.
Numerically stronger the Town came again and the issue was thrown wide open when Paul Honohan fisted home Diarmuid Lester’s delightful cross to cut the deficit to three points. And when Carbery lost their third player, the city side must have fancied their chances, particularly after points by Paul O’Connor and Conor Dorman made it a one-point game with two minutes of normal time remaining.
There was still plenty of time to salvage at least a draw, but, inexplicably, Bishopstown opted to keep their extra men out around midfield and away from their opponent’s goal.
A clearly dejected Town selector Leo Jones said his side didn’t deserved to win.
“We showed no fight, took the wrong options time and time again and we can have no excuses. I congratulate Carbery Rangers on their victory and wish them all the best for the remainder of the championship,” said Jones.
Scorers for Carbery Rangers: Declan Hayes 1-2, J Hayes 0-5 (3fs), S O’Neill 0-2, B Shanahan, J Fitzpatrick 0-1 each.
Scorers for Bishopstown: P O’Connor 0-5fs, P Honohan 1-1, D Hickey, F Ó Deasúnaigh, P Cronin, C Dorman (45) 0-1 each.
CARBERY RANGERS: M Moloney; M Kelly, M Mennis, E Favier; S Murray, J O’Rourke, T O’Rourke; M O’Sullivan, J Fitzpatrick; S O’Neill, J Hayes, K McMahon; D Hayes, B Shanahan, Seamus Hayes.
Subs: Sean Hayes for T O’Rourke (50); G O’Brien for O’Neill (50).
BISHOPSTOWN: K O’Halloran; J O’Sullivan, E Byrne, J McLoughlin; M Power, I Jones, C O’Neill; P Cronin, A O’Connor; C Dorman, D Hickey, S Oakes; P O’Connor, D Crowley, F Ó Deasúnaigh.
Subs: P Honohan for Oakes (ht), N O’Donovan for A O’Connor (40), D Lester for C O’Neill (45).
Referee: C Lane (Banteer).