Midleton looking for another long run

Midleton 0-19 Bishopstown 0-12: Perennial contenders Midleton eased themselves into the Cork SHC third round with this comfortable first-round win over Bishopstown.

These two sides met at this juncture in 2016, with Midleton winning out on a 2-16 to 0-12 scoreline and, while the gap wasn’t as substantial on this occasion, the men from East Cork were rarely troubled throughout a massively disappointing second half of hurling.

Ahead by 0-9 to 0-8 at the break, Midleton, through Conor Lehane, Sean O’Meara and first-half sub Padraic Nagle, clipped three points on the bounce to reopen a four-point advantage they had previously carved out early in the opening period.

They could have pushed further clear, with Bishopstown goalkeeper Ken O’Halloran denying Luke O’Farrell before a crowded goal-line kept out a Conor Lehane 20-metre free.

Lehane, who enjoyed a decent tussle with former Cork teammate Shane O’Neill, didn’t contribute from play in the opening half, but exerted far greater influence in the second period, notching three from play, as well as stroking over a third free.

Half-back Dean Sexton registered Bishopstown’s first second-half score on 41 minutes, only one of four second-half points Mark Cogan’s charges would manage.

Lehane cancelled out Sexton’s minor and, from the ensuing restart, Paul Haughney gathered possession and sent the sliotar back between O’Halloran’s posts.

Bishopstown captain Brian Murray pared the margin back to four, 0-14 to 0-10, but they would not add to their tally in the subsequent 13 minutes.

Two in a row from Lehane effectively ended this game as a contest, the closing stages notably devoid of intensity, as the tie petered out to its inevitable conclusion. Haughney, Patrick White and Padraic Nagle’s third brought their account to 19, as Paddy Fitzgerald’s side head for the summer recess on a positive note.

Bishopstown will face Kanturk when the championships resume and they’ve plenty of work to do if they’re to dispatch last year’s premier intermediate champions and keep their season alive. They were second to everything after the change of ends and offered little by the way of resistance when their opponents began to slowly tighten the noose.

Cogan’s side led only once and that was when Conor Walsh — the sole man wearing maroon who managed more than one point from play — split the posts 10 seconds in.

Midleton’s response was to reel off five without reply, Luke O’Farrell, the excellent Cormac Walsh (0-2), Cormac Beausang and Padraig O’Farrell all on target. Sean O’Meara also had an opportunity of a goal during this spell of dominance, but he was hooked at the vital moment.

Frees from Thomas Murray and Ken O’Halloran, added to a second from play by Walsh, had the city side back within the minimum. The sweeper role handed to Murray was somewhat effective in containing the opposition attack, but, at the other end, their two-man inside line never looked capable of penetrating Midleton’s last line of defence.

Crucially, they were unable to get back on level footing and spent the remainder of the first-half trying to find answers to whatever Midleton produced. Bishopstown did have chances to equalise on the five occasions when there was just one between the teams, but their shooting left a lot to be desired, which was reflected in their first-half tally of eight wides.

Those opportunities dried up in the second-half and Midleton outscoring them 0-10 to 0-4 upon the resumption painted a clear picture of how one-sided this clash became.

Scorers for Midleton:

C Lehane (0-6, 0-3 frees); C Walsh (0-4); P Nagle (0-3); P Haughney, S O’Meara, C Beausang, L O’Farrell, P O’Farrell, P White (0-1 each).

Scorers for Bishopstown:

T Murray (0-4, 0-3 frees); C Walsh (0-2); K O’Halloran (0-1 free), C Hegarty, D Sexton, B Murray, M Power, P Cronin (0-1 each).

MIDLETON:

T Wallace; S Smyth, A Kearney, S O’Leary Hayes; S O’Farrell, J Nagle, L Dineen; P Haughney, P O’Farrell; A Ryan, S O’Meara, C Walsh; C Beausang, L O’Farrell, C Lehane.

Subs:

P Nagle for Ryan (29); E Mulcahy for O’Leary Hayes (38, inj); P White for C Beausang (45);

BISHOPSTOWN:

K O’Halloran; S O’Neill, S O’Rourke, D Lester; Barry Murphy, Ben Murphy, D Sexton; B Coffey, C Hegarty; C Walsh, B Murray, E Byrne; T Murray, M Power, B Lane.

Subs:

P Cronin for Lane (26 mins); D Quaid for Barry Murphy (HT); D Crowley for Power (53).

Referee:

N Wall (Carrigaline).

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