This city derby never truly fired. A drenching second-half downpour which made conditions very difficult for both sides didn’t help, but the Barr’s bright start and ability to strike points from long range were crucial in killing this game off as a contest long before the final whistle.
The men in blue were quick into their stride, pacy corner-forward Philip Kelleher hitting two fine points in the first four minutes to go with a long-range effort from Glenn O’Connor.
Both sides made significant positional changes when the ball was thrown in — for the Barr’s, Cork senior Damien Cahalane was moved back from centre-back to the edge of the square to pick up county colleague Patrick Cronin, while another Cork star, Shane O’Neill, dropped back from midfield to sweep for Bishopstown.
The contrast between the two sides’ scoring abilities couldn’t have been more marked in that first period— Bishopstown hit some poor wides while most of the Barr’s scores came from outside the 45m line, corner-back Cian Walsh advancing to blast over from 70m for the best of them.
By the end of the first quarter, the Barr’s were leading 0-7 to 0-2, Cronin the only ‘Town man on the scoresheet.
The men in blue were benefiting from their forwards’ huge work-rate, and though Cronin hit a fine point from the sideline, three of those busy forwards — Kelleher, Eoin Maher and Bill Beckett — hit three points on the trot to establish a good lead.
It might have been worse for Bishopstown when Beckett went for goal on 24 minutes, but Cork football ‘keeper Ken O’Halloran, on hurling duty between the sticks, saved well.
Late in the half, Bishopstown won a close-in free and Cronin went for goal, only for the massed ranks in blue to save and clear: The Barr’s swept downfield and the impressive Kelleher struck another point.
Before the break there was still time for the Barr’s to hit two more points — another Kelleher free and yet another effort from distance, this time from wing-back Dylan Quinn —putting nine between the sides at the half, 0-13 to 0-4.
The second half was hardly a minute old when a lengthy Dylan Quinn delivery broke kindly for Colm Keane, who pulled first time for a cracking goal, stretching the Barr’s lead to 12 points.
The intensity dropped somewhat after that score, and the heavy rain didn’t help either team. Bishopstown desperately needed a goal to have any chance of winning and the Barr’s weren’t about to give them any such leeway, defending tidily and augmenting their rearguard with midfielder Eoin Keane.
On 47 minutes, Bishopstown lost all hope when substitute Bert Lane got a straight red card. From the resulting Barr’s free substitute Robert O’Mahony doubled spectacularly for a point, a rare highlight in that sodden second period.
The sides swapped points towards the end — Cronin never gave up for Bishopstown — but the Barr’s were never threatened as the game wound down. Michael Power’s late goal effort for the ‘Town was calmly saved by Barr’s ‘keeper David O’Gorman, whose injury-time stop from Patrick Cronin was first class.
The Barr’s now advance to take on Midleton in the next round with some optimism, though the East Cork side will be firm favourites for that game.
Bishopstown must face Killeagh in the relegation decider, a far cry from their county final appearance just three years ago.
P. Kelleher (0-8, 2 frees, 2 65); C. Keane (1-0); B. Beckett (0-3); C. Walsh, D. Quinn, E. Keane, G. O’Connor, E. Maher and R. O’Mahony (0-1 each).
P. Cronin (0-8, 1 free, 1 65); B. Murray, J. Murphy (0-1 each).
D. O’Gorman; C. Walsh, J. Burns, J. Neville; P. Wiley, D. Cahalane, D. Quinn;, E. Keane, G. O’Connor; E. Maher, B. Hennessy, E. Finn; P. Kelleher, B. Beckett, C. Keane.
R. O’Mahony for E. Maher (47); E. Dennehy for C. Keane (59).
K. O’Halloran; D. Lester, M. Driscoll, C. Luttrell; P. O’Donoghue, C. O’Donovan, R. Ryan; S. O’Neill, M. Power; E. Byrne, P. Honohan (c), A. O’Sullivan; P. Cronin, D. Crowley, B. Murray.
B. Lane for O’Donovan (15); N. Feehely for Crowley (35); J. Murphy for O’Sullivan, D. Hickey for Byrne (both 40); B. Coffey for Ryan (55).
C. McAllister (Aghada).