But when Patrick Horgan and Bishopstown defender Colm O’Driscoll and midfielder Mark Driscoll were red carded inside 10 minutes the game was thrown in the air.
Horgan and O’Driscoll’s sendings off was followed by a serious flare-up which left a sour taste in the mouth until the two sets of players refocused on the task on hand, but the Glen’s numerical advantage enabled them to play some splendid hurling. In real terms, as Bishopstown’s manager Padraig O’Donoghue conceded afterwards, “it was an impossible task really in a big field with 13 players.
“We were chasing shadows. The Glen hurled very well to be fair to them. They used the space fantastically well — we didn’t have the manpower to deal with it. It would have been hard enough 14 against 14 or 15 against 15, but when it was 13 against 14 we didn’t have a chance!”
From the Glen perspective, selector Des Cullinane was pleased their players ‘responded well’ to the earlier incidents. “We managed to regain our composure and that stood to us in the course of the game — particularly the younger guys. I thought Glen Kennefick was magnificent; it’s his first season playing senior, and he’s a Leaving Certificate student.
“The fact of the Bishopstown player being sent off after a second yellow changed the game. We had expected them to pull a man back and double-team Patrick Horgan. We were waiting for (centre-back) Brian Moylan to be free. I’d say Mark was unfortunate. It could have been one of our guys and that would have changed the game. We are delighted to win. Bishopstown beat us in the last championship match. We have put in a huge effort with this team.”
With scores tied at 0-2 each, Bishopstown led for the only time when Brian Murray pointed 13 minutes after play had resumed. But, in the space of 11 minutes, Glen Rovers had opened up a lead of six points, following a goal by Kennefick. Soon afterwards he was denied a second goal by an excellent save by Ken O’Halloran.
Having started at full-forward, Patrick Cronin played the rest of his hurling out around midfield and was quite effective, with county team-mate Shane O’Neill prominent at times against the industrious David Cunningham. However, with Brian Moylan winning a lot of ball as the ‘extra man’ and Steven McDonnell always comfortable at the heart of the defence, Bishopstown found it very difficult to penetrate beyond the half-forward line. Additionally, missed chances also proved costly.
They trailed 1-8 to 0-4 at half time and while they resumed promisingly, with O’Halloran coming up to attempt a goal from a close-in free and seeing his shot deflected over the bar and Cronin then pointing. After six minutes, the goalkeeper had a second attempt and his shot was blocked by his opposite number, Cathal Hickey, who later brought off a great save from Denis Crowley. Ten minutes later, the game was as good as decided, after the Glen added 1-4 without reply — the goal coming from Conor Doris. And it didn’t matter that they lost Donal Cronin to a second yellow card just after the three- quarters stage had been reached.
Scorers for Glen Rovers: C Doris (1-3), G Kennefick (1-1), D Brosnan, D Cunningham, E O’Connell (0-2 each), P Horgan (f), P Virgo, D Cronin, D Noonan, G Callanan and D Goggin (0-1 each).
Scorers for Bishopstown: T Murray (1-3, 0-1f), P Cronin (0-2), B Murray, M Power and K O’Halloran (free) 0-1 each.
GLEN ROVERS: C Hickey; D Noonan, S McDonnell, G Moylan; D Dooling, B Moylan, G Callanan (capt); D Cronin, G Kennefick; D Brosnan, D Cunningham, D Busteed; C Doris, P Horgan, P Virgo.
Subs: E O’Connell for Virgo (ht); D Goggin for Kennefick (44); A O’Donovan for Brosnan (58) BISHOPSTOWN: K O’Halloran; D Lester, C O’Driscoll, J O’Sullivan; C Luttrell, S O’Neill, B Lane; M Driscoll, T Murray; M Power, D Crowley, E Byrne; B Murray, P Cronin, G McGlacken.
Subs: K O’Driscoll for McGlacken (ht); B Coffey for Crowley and D Hickey for Power (59).
Referee: Cathal McAllister (Aghada).