Bishopstown’s young guns bid to come of age

THE omens are good for Bishopstown. When Erin’s Own won their first county senior hurling title back in 1992, the ‘town lifted the intermediate title the same year.

Both clubs are in similar situations this weekend and will hope the results will turn out the same.

Following their 1992 triumph — ironically over Cloyne, who are contesting the senior final on Sunday — Bishopstown spent until 2000 in senior ranks without any success and opted to drop down to intermediate grade the following year.

It’s taken them five years to put this present team together and they are on the threshold of going back up, but manager Padraig O’Donoghue says it hasn’t happened by accident. “We managed to get a great crop of young players together with exceptional talent. They enjoyed tremendous success at underage level but winning back-to-back city and county titles in 2003 and 2004 was really the beginning of this intermediate side, which is built around those two minor teams who have progressed onto the county under-21 final later on in the year.

“The same selectors are involved but we did bring in Eddie Murphy as coach and that has worked extremely well. We are also very fortunate to have Johnny Crowley involved and his experience has been invaluable,” said Padraig.

“Eddie’s background is steeped in hurling. He got his passion for the game from his late father Billy, better known as Long Puck, who played with Cork in the 1940s. Despite living and working in Tralee, Eddie is a dyed-in-the-wool Bishopstown man who brought the team to where it is today.”

Despite their youth, Padraig feels Bishopstown have built up some experience.

“Even though we are a very young side, we are not without experience. Shane O’Neill, Patrick Cronin and Ronan Conway have all sampled senior hurling with Cork. Ken O’Halloran was a county minor and under-21 player while Tomas Murray was a county minor this year.

“Prior to this year we hadn’t won a first round championship game in years and it was becoming very frustrating, but once we got over the first hurdle against Aghada in extra time in a replay, it was all systems go.

“No stone has been left unturned in pursuit of our goal. This final will be our 38th match this year and if we manage to pull it off, it would be a massive boost for the club.

“Our team is exceptionally young, with 10 of them under 21 and five of them under 18, and that would be a concern I would have. We are up against a very seasoned team in Carrigtwohill.

“It’s a huge occasion for such a young bunch of players, but at the same time if we play to our potential, I would give ourselves an excellent chance.

“A victory on Sunday could have a domino effect on our minor and under-21 teams who are also chasing county honours this year. Winning all three doesn’t bear thinking about, but we’ll take it one at a time.”


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