While they had been reduced to 14 in the 23rd minute of this replay, the city side didn’t look as if the numerical disparity had affected them when Conor Dorman put them 1-8 to 0-5 in front in the 48th minute.
The Cork defender already had 1-1 to his name – he was utilised at centre-forward – and added another to his tally in the 57th minute. That score was the crucial one as it came after Clyda Rovers had scored five unanswered points to draw to within one, despite having lost Paudie Kissane to a black card.
A close-range James Murphy free responded to Dorman’s final score, but even though the Mourneabbey side deployed a full-court press in a bid to seize possession, Bishopstown kept their heads. Manager Leo Jones was heartened with the character shown.
“Our backs were to the wall in a big way, we were missing three key fellas,” he said. “We had a red card then, but in the 10 minutes before half-time Clyda kicked five wides in a row and we didn’t give away a free, that was huge.
“We have to back it up next week though. Last year, we played well in the quarter-finals but couldn’t reproduce it in the semi-final and that’s the challenge now next weekend. Hopefully the squad will be a bit stronger next week.”
Dorman’s move to the 40 was part of a Bishopstown reshuffle due to being without the injured Daniel O’Donovan, Paul Honohan and Jack O’Shea, and he impressed in the early stages though Clyda matched their opponents point for point. Wing-back Conor O’Sullivan was getting forward well , pointing twice as the sides were level at 0-4 each after 17 minutes.
He could also have goaled in the ninth minute after his cousin Cian played him in, one of eight first-half wides they had. At the other end, Sam Oakes shot wide following a good Jamie O’Sullivan pass but moments later Dorman found the net, producing a great finish.
Séamus Ronayne responded for Clyda though and then the Town lost Diarmuid Lester to a second booking while Ronayne and Conor Flanagan both had further goal chances following a scramble. Denis Crowley’s Bishopstown point was the last action of the half to leave them three ahead,
Clyda began the second period in positive form as they sought to make the most of the extra man. Conor O’Sullivan set up James Murphy for an attempt at goal which Ken O’Halloran saved well but, though the rebound fell to Kissane, his fisted attempt went into the net rather than over the bar.
A point from Jamie O’Sullivan pushed Bishopstown four clear and then, after Kissane departed, Oakes and Dorman looked to have created an impregnable lead. Just when Clyda looked beaten, though, they came to life as the 14 men of Bishopstown tired. Two points from Conor Flanagan sandwiched Conor O’Sullivan’s third and with Niall O’Mullane impressing in defence, Town looked to have lost their way.
Ronayne rounded off a great move involving Murphy, Ray Carey and sub Roy Willis to cut the margin to two and then Murphy nailed a free from outside the 45. The prospect of extra-time loomed but then Dorman conjured something from nothing, a booming point from way out on the right. While Clyda were not done, Bishopstown weren’t going to be denied, heading to a meeting with Carbery Rangers for the third year in a row.
Clyda coach Ned English was proud of his side but questioned Kissane’s black card. “We came to give it our best,” he said, “and the lads have bought in so much to what we’ve asked them, that’s all you can do.
“We had to be at 95% efficiency to beat Bishopstown but with the squad they had, they only had to be at about 65% or 70%. A big ask, but they nearly did it. We had a man going through on goal, he was pulled down from behind and it was a yellow card. Paudie Kissane stands in front of a man in midfield – a lot less cynical – the man runs into him and it’s a black card. He was a huge loss.”
Scorers for Bishopstown: C Dorman (1-3), S Oakes (0-2, 1f), J O’Sullivan, B Coffey (f), D Crowley, F Ó Deasúnaigh (0-1 each).
Scorers for Clyda Rovers: Conor O’Sullivan, C Flanagan, J Murphy (frees) (0-3 each), Séamus Ronayne (0-2).
BISHOPSTOWN: K O’Halloran; C Davin, E Byrne, M Power; N O’Donovan, J O’Sullivan, D Lester; A O’Connor, M Driscoll; J McLoughlin, C Dorman, B Coffey; F Ó Deasúnaigh, D Crowley, S Oakes.
Subs: P Cronin for McLoughlin (43), D O’Connor for Ó Deasúnaigh (59, bc), T Murray for Crowley, D Hickey for Coffey (both 60), M Dorgan for Power (60, injured).
CLYDA ROVERS: C Conway; C Kenny, R Carey, N O’Mullane; Conor O’Sullivan, F O’Shea, Séamus Ronayne; P Kissane, K Fitzgerald; G Carey, C Flanagan, Cian O’Sullivan; J Murphy, D O’Callaghan, S O’Connell.
Subs: R Willis for O’Shea (38), Seán Ronayne for Kissane (40, black card), O’Shea for Seán Ronayne (59).
Referee: C Lane (Banteer).