The Sars centre-forward accounted for seven of his side’s tally of points, the best of which was a sideline cut late in the game, in greasy underfoot conditions.
Amid persistent rain, Bishopstown made the better start. Mark Driscoll was a huge influence at full-back while Pa Cronin was equally effective at full-forward, the Cork senior landing two points in a row inside the opening five minutes.
Indeed the ‘Town looked particularly sharp in most sectors of the field as Sars struggled to make an impression, and it took them 10 minutes to open their account, a point by Tadgh Óg Murphy quickly followed by the equaliser from Daniel Kearney.
The reigning champions settled after this and their forwards began to see more of the ball, as Daniel Kearney took a grip on midfield.
Kieran Murphy had a point after Ken O’Halloran deflected his goal-bound shot over the crossbar and Cian McCarthy stretched the advantage to two points when he landed a close-in free as the ‘Town failed to maintain early dominance.
Bishopstown looked to remedy the situation by bringing Pa Cronin out to centre-forward in a swap with Denis Crowley and it worked a treat.
Cronin revelled in the open spaces and pointed a free from midfield before he launched a long ball deep into the Sars square where Denis Crowley got a touch to deflect the sliotar to the net.
The ‘Town were rejuvenated and they finished the half with points by Paul Honohan and a fourth by Cronin to lead 1-5 to 0-6 at the break.
Sarsfields resumed with greater determination and it took a superb goal-line save by Conor Luttrell to deny Eoin O’Sullivan a goal, with the ‘Town keeper Ken O’Halloran off his line.
With O’Sullivan making light of the conditions, Sars rattled over three points in a row to lead by one after 35 minutes, but the ‘Town refused to wilt and a delightful point by Terence Murray had the sides level for the third time in the 40th minute.
Sars were now in control though and playing with fluency, they made their push for home, with three points in a row, two by Cian McCarthy.
Bishopstown needed a goal. But that chance never looked like coming as the Sars defence, in which Craig Leahy, Conor O’Sullivan and William Kearney excelled, dealt comfortably with the best the ‘Town had to offer.
The city side were given a chance of a goal late in the game but Pa Cronin’s effort from a 20-metre free was deflected over the crossbar. At the other end, Cian McCarthy capped an excellent night’s work with that sideline cut and the impressive O’Sullivan chipped in with another point before the final whistle to bring a rather drab contest to an end.
C. McCarthy (0-7, 4 frees, 1 ‘65’); E. O’Sullivan (0-3); K. Murphy (0-2) T., Óg Murphy, D. Kearney, E. Quigley (0-1 each).
P. Cronin (0-5, 3 frees); D. Crowley (1-0); P. Honohan, T. Murray (0-1 each).
A. Kennedy; T. Crowley, C. Leahy, C. O’Sullivan; W. Kearney, E. Martin, D. Roche; D. Kearney, E. Quigley; G. O’Loughlin, K. Murphy, C. McCarthy; E., O’Sullivan, C. Duggan, T. Óg Murphy.
L. Hackett for C., Duggan (47); E. Murphy for G. O’Loughlin (50).
K. O’Halloran; D. Lester, M. Driscoll, C. Luttrell; P. O’Donoghue, C. O’Donovan, R. Ryan; S. O’Neill, C. Sexton; N. Feehely, D. Hickey, P. Honohan; D. Crowley, P. Cronin, T. Murray.
I. Jones for C. Sexton (47); J. Murphy for N. Feehely (50); B. Coffey for D. Hickey (52); D. Driscoll for D. Crowley (52); S. O’Callaghan for P. Honohan (55).
Referee, N. Wall (Carrigaline).