On a day marred by bad weather, this was a very good game of football. And this defeat of the 2014 county champions, which could be regarded as an upset of sorts, was never in doubt.
A good start is half the battle and 50 seconds was all it took for Bishopstown’s Denis Crowley to lay down the marker — the number 14 scoring the first of his two goals, his colleagues giving him plenty of space.
With Crowley and the hugely prominent Daniel O’Donovan grabbing much of the high ball that came their way, further goals were nailed in the 25th and 37th minutes – there was almost nine minutes of stoppage time following injuries to Ballincollig’s Killian Coleman and Noel Galvin and Bishopstown’s Darragh O’Connor.
This game also marked the return of Conor Dorman after a lengthy lay-off and as the hour progressed he appeared to be as strong as ever. Along with goal-getters Crowley and O’Donovan, he was another leading figure up front. By half-time, Bishopstown were well on their way, fully deserving of their seven-point lead.
“I have never been so proud,” said selector Diarmuid Vaughan. “We are down 11 from last year. Our backs were to the wall big-time. That is when we come out on top.”
With just one win from eight league matches, Vaughan also revealed they took heart from their minor hurlers’ victory over Blackrock earlier in the week. And while Ballincollig will now have to regroup for a 2B clash against Beara, Bishopstown can look forward to a 2A meeting with UCC.
Conceding a goal so early put Ballincollig on the back foot. To their credit, they fought back to make it 1-2 to 0-5 by the 25th minute, but understandably they were unsettled by injuries to key players Coleman and Galvin. Cian Dorgan landed eight of their points while another three came from hard-working midfielder Sean Kiely, which meant Paddy Kelly was the only other forward to get on the scoresheet. Wing- forward Coleman was acting as an effective sweeper until his premature exit. Bishopstown, meanwhile, fired on all cylinders especially in the first half, as Ballincollig struggled to cope with the aerial dominance of Crowley and O’Donovan. The quality of delivery was noteworthy too – prime examples were when midfielder Darragh O’Connor picked out Crowley for goal number one while defender Diarmuid Lester was instrumental in O’Donovan’s green flag moments before the break. Lester was a huge part of a Bishopstown defence Ballincollig found hard to break down.
The run-up to the break was most productive for the ‘Town as they kicked 2-2. Taking a 3-4 to 0-6 lead to the dressing-room was warmly greeted by their fans.
Ballincollig fared better in the second-half, bringing the lead back to three points thanks to four unanswered white flags – three from Dorgan. However, Bishopstown fended off the surge, registering the next four points between the 42nd and 51st minute, to again extend the lead to seven points, 3-8 to 0-10. Captain Eoin Byrne’s fisted effort following a tremendous run down the centre the crowning moment.
Dorgan hit the ‘Town with a trio of late points but they never recovered from those opening half setbacks.
D Crowley (2-0), D O’Donovan (1-4, three frees), E Byrne, S Oakes (free), B Coffey and C Dorman (0-1 each)
C Dorgan (0-8, six frees), S Kiely (0-3), P Kelly (0-2)
K O’Halloran; K Davin, E Byrne (Capt), S O’Rourke; D Lester, M Power, N O’Donovan; J O’Sullivan, D O’Connor; S O’Neill, C Dorman, B Clifford; D O’Donovan, D Crowley, S Oakes
B Coffey for D O’Connor (12 inj)
J Gibbons; S Lucey, L Jennings, N Galvin; D Kerstein, C Moore, C Kiely; S Kiely, C O’Sullivan (Capt); N Allen, P Kelly, K Coleman; J Kelly, C Dorgan, J Miskella
G Durrant for K Coleman (18 inj), L Prendergast for N Galvin (28 inj), E Reilly for J Kelly (44), D Tobin for C O’Sullivan (48)
Brian Coniry (Crosshaven)