Bishopstown 1-20 Killeagh 1-11: Bishopstown retained their Cork senior hurling status in style at Riverstown on Saturday. One wondered how they were ever in this relegation decider such was their assertive and forceful play.
Killeagh provided strong resistance but in their second consecutive year trying to avoid the drop to the Premier intermediate grade, Bishopstown eventually wore them down.
County player Patrick Cronin sparkled up front, posting 1-9, Chris O’Donovan lorded it in defence while Thomas Murray fired five wonderful points in what was a confident team display.
Bishopstown PRO and selector Conor Doyle admitted it was a pressurised position to be in. “This is probably the most nervous we were all year. The pressure is building every time you lose.
“We were very unlucky in the first round, we lost after extra-time and we literally ran out of players because some of our key guys got injured. I don’t think it does clubs any good to be in this situation.
"I don’t think it has done Cork hurling any good either. I believe there are rumours it is going to change next year. And I hope it does because it is very hard to get up to this level and then to be dropping out of it after a relegation play-off.
“Tonight was the first night we had all our players. We had guys back that were playing inter-county and that was a big plus. It was a great performance.
"The lads themselves regrouped after we lost the third game against the Barrs. They drove it on. And the support of Conor (O’Neill) was excellent as coach.”
Both teams settled quickly. Brian Murray and Cronin exchanged quick-fire points with Andrew Walsh, Eoghan Keniry and David Cahill to leave the score four points apiece at the end of the opening quarter.
Killeagh then took over striking the next 1-2 – one of their brightest forwards Eoghan Keniry expertly finishing to the net after breaking through the Town defence following tremendous work by Joe Budds.
But Bishopstown showed no sign of panic going on a scoring spree registering 1-7 to Killeagh’s single point. The goal was a killer-blow as it came from distance courtesy of Cronin and went all the way to the net.
With O’Donovan, Shane O’Neill and Paul Honohan marshalling their half-back line, they comfortably led at the break 1-11 to 1-6.
As the second half got underway it was notable Killeagh had introduced four subs, desperate to put it up to the city side. Daniel Walsh, in particular made an impact alongside Joe Deane still going strong at midfield almost 20 years after he first broke onto the inter-county scene.
The east Cork side remained competitive up to the three-quarter mark with the margin remaining at five points, 1-13 to 1-8. Gradually, Bishopstown turned the screw and the feeling of inevitability set in.
During the fourth quarter they out-hit Killeagh six points to three. The Imokilly outfit were reduced to 14 men as Daniel Walsh received a second yellow on 55 minutes. And with that Bishopstown’s senior status was secured.
Scorers for Bishopstown:
P Cronin (1-9, five frees, one 65m), T Murray (0-5), M Power and B Murray (0-2 each), A O’Sullivan and P Honohan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Killeagh:
E Keniry (1-2), A Walsh (0-3), J Deane (frees) and D Walsh (0-2 each), K Lane (free) and D Cahill (0-1 each).
K O’Halloran; E Byrne, M Driscoll, C O’Driscoll; P Honohan (Capt), S O’Neill, C O’Donovan; D Lester, M Power; C Luttrell, B Murray, A O’Sullivan; T Murray, P Cronin, D Crowley.
P O’Donoghue for A O’Sullivan (45), R Ryan for P Honohan (57), D Hickey for C Luttrell (62).
B Rochford; A Keniry, Colin Fogarty, Cian Fogarty; S Treacy, B Barry, P O’Brien (Capt); K Lane, J Deane; E Keniry, A Walsh, J Budds; K Treacy, P Carroll, D Cahill.
D Walsh for S Treacy (19), K Murphy for Colin Fogarty (27), S Smiddy for P Carroll, S Long for K Treacy (both half-time), B Collins for D Cahill (43).
Ken Healy (Ballymartle).
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