If it happened only the once, you’d forgive a team for letting slip an almost double-digit advantage. But for the Bishopstown hurlers to throw away big, big leads on successive weekends is nigh inexcusable.
Fair dues, of course, to Erin’s Own for refusing to accept their seemingly inevitable fate after the concession of an unanswered 1-8 left them nine adrift six minutes from half-time.
And even though the Glounthane men narrowed the gap somewhat approaching the interval break, Bishopstown still held a six-point advantage - 1-11 to 1-5 - turning around for the second period.
They had owned the first-half, had held their opponents scoreless for 18 minutes and scoreless from play for 27 minutes. As one Bishopstown supporter remarked at half-time, ‘they surely can’t lose this one’.
They surely could, as it turned out.
When letting slip an eight-point lead against Newtownshandrum the weekend previous, Bishopstown managed very few shots at the opposition posts when their opponents got on top during the closing stages. It was a much different story at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday as Bishopstown, who were outscored 0-11 to 0-3 in the second period, wasted a plethora of white and green flag opportunities.
Placed-ball efforts, in particular, became a massively troublesome area for the city side as a number of second-half frees and 65s were either driven wide or landed short. An attempt to remedy this problem saw a change of free-taker, but no improvement did it bring about.
Against Newtownshandrum, Bishopstown didn’t score from the 45th minute onward. Here, they registered one point beyond the 46th minute.
This second successive squandering of a winning position means Bishopstown are now looking down rather than up and should they fail to take anything from their final Group B outing against Blackrock, involvement in the relegation decider is probable.
Relegation was the concern for Erin’s Own at the outset of the year, manager Martin Bowen admitted following his side’s come-from-behind win.
“We are in transition,” Bowen explained. “We have a lot of young players we are trying to bring up to the level required and we have a lot of old lads who at 36, 37-years of age are still giving their all.
“At the start of the year, what we were concerned about, to be honest with you, was losing our status. We wanted to maintain our status, no matter what, because we felt if we did that we might have a chance of developing some young players. After this win, we should hopefully be okay. That is a big plus and anything after this is a bonus.”
The Erin’s Own manager hailed the “great spirit” of his charges after Bishopstown’s 1-8 burst - which included a Pa Cronin free from inside his own half that went all the way to the opposition net and three Thomas Murray points from play - left them trailing 1-9 to 0-3 on 24 minutes.
“We were well out of the game, there is no point saying otherwise. In the back of our mind, we had been drilling into the lads all the time that Bishopstown lost a big lead last week and we felt if we could get it going, we had a chance.
“We used five subs. They made a big difference. We are just thrilled to get the win. We needed to get the win.”
Five points without reply at the beginning of the second-half from Eoghan Murphy (0-3), James O’Carroll, and Ronan Twomey cut the deficit to the minimum, with the goalkeepers at either end - Shay Bowen and Ken O’Halloran - pulling off a number of excellent saves during this period.
Brian Murray and Conor Hegarty found the target to steady Bishopstown momentarily, but another five-point burst from Erin’s Own shoved them two clear as the clock spilled into the red.
Substitute Alan Bowen hit the levelling and lead scores on 56 and 59 minutes respectively. Another sub, Cathal Lenihan, subsequently doubled their advantage. Thomas Murray struck his fourth to give Bishopstown hope of maybe securing a share of the spoils.
It was not to be, however.
E Murphy (0-7, 5 frees, 2 ‘65s); R Twomey (1-2); A Bowen, C Lenihan (0-2 each); J O’Carroll, R O’Flynn, S Horgan (0-1 each).
P Cronin (1-5, 4 frees, 0-1 ‘65); T Murray (0-4); C Hegarty (0-2); D Lester, J Scally, B Murray (0-1 each).
S Bowen; C O’Connor, C Dooley, S Murphy; S Cronin, J O’Flynn, D Twomey; S Kelly, J O’Carroll; R O’Flynn, S Guilfoyle, K Murphy; E Murphy, M O’Carroll, R Twomey.
C Lenihan for Guilfoyle (26 mins); S Horgan for Kelly (27); A Bowen for J O’Carroll (47); C O’Callaghan for E Murphy (55); C O’Mahony for Cronin (57).
: K O’Halloran; E Byrne, B Murphy, S Murphy; D Lester, S O’Neill, J O’Sullivan; T Murray, B Murray; J Scally, P Cronin, S Lordan; C O’Driscoll, M Driscoll, C Hegarty.
C O’Hora for C O’Driscoll (52 mins); M Power for Lordan (58).
: M Maher.