Midleton 2-16 Bishopstown 0-12: There was only going to be one winner from this first-round Cork SHC clash in Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday and yet it wasn’t so much a case of 2013 champions Midleton being comfortably in control all through, more an issue of how closer Bishopstown might have been had they not accumulated 17 wides.
Selector Martin Hayes agreed with this viewpoint, stating: “it was disappointing, but on the positive side, we did play well in periods, we owned the ball for periods and competed physically. We stayed the course but when it’s a quality team like Midleton and you have 17 wides - not from 80 yards but from within 40/50 yards - you’re going to struggle.”
Midleton manager Gerry Wallace accepted Town’s wastage of possession was a key factor in determining the result. “In the first-half if they had been a bit luckier – they had 11 wides to our seven – it might have been closer at half-time,” he commented.
“Today Bishopstown had their two players that were not involved with Cork (Shane O’Neill and Patrick Cronin) and they were trying to prove they should have been. I thought our four showed they are meriting being on the Cork panel. I don’t think the Cork performance reflects our hurling here in Cork. I just think it might have been a once-off.”
Looking ahead, Wallace revealed a change of strategy after what he described as Midleton ‘being gone over the hill’ when they played Glen in the semi-final last year. “What we did this year, we stayed longer in the gymnasium and we didn’t do too much hurling for the first two and a half months. And then we started the league campaign. If we can get over Newtown or even if we have to go through a back door it’s August we are still aiming for.”
Midleton laid the foundations for their win with a dominant opening quarter which had them leading 1-5 to 0-1, the goal coming from Luke O’Farrell, one of the players who was to make an important contribution. Apart from the fact he finished top scorer, he impressed in general play, with Paul Haughney another, making a contribution.
From Bishopstown’s perspective, withdrawing selected corner-forwrd Brian Murray to give him a roving role offered a reasonable return once he had settled into the game. But, while they performed well in defence, they were limited in attack. Patrick Cronin lined out at centre-forward and finished the game with seven points, but five of them were from frees and he was one of the main contributors to their alarming wides count.
At the other end Cork star Conor Lehane also lined out at centre-forward, faced by ex-Cork defender Shane O’Neill. Unusually, Lehane’s scoring return was a mere two points, one from a free, and while this was partly down to O’Neill’s close marking, Lehane still exerted an influence in terms of possesion he won. And, Midleton were by no means faultless in their shooting, except they always appeared to have someting extra in reserve to meet a strengthening challenge.
It was 1-9 to 0-6 at half-time and the second-half was almost a mirror of the preceding 30 minutes. O’Farrell brought his total to 2-4 with a second goal in injury time and it was noteworthy Cormac Walsh made a telling contribution at wing-forwards. Considering he spent 10 minutes off the field in the first-half while treated for a facial injury, it was all the more to his credit.
Scorers for Midleton:
L. O’Farrell 2-4; C. Walsh 0-6 (2 frees); C. Lehane (1 free) and D. Ryann 0-2 each; B. Hartnett and J. Nagle 0-1 each.
Scorers for Bishopstown:
P. Cronin 0-7 (5 frees); T. Murray and B. Murray 0-2 each; D. Sexton 0-1.
T. Wallace; K. Burke, F. O’Mahony, A. Kearney; D. Ryan, A. Ryan, S. O’Farrell; P. Haughney, P. O’Farrell; J. Nagle, C. Lehane, C. Walsh; B. Hartnett, P. Dowling (capt.), L. O’Farrell.
P. White for Nagle (52).
K. O’Halloran; C. Luttrell, B. Murphy, B. Coffey; M. Driscoll (capt.), S. O’Neill, C. O’Donovan; D. Lester, C. Sexton; R. Ryan, P. Cronin, T. Murray; C. Hegarty, M. Power, B. Murray.
D. O’Driscoll for Ryan and D. Crowley for Hegarty (ht); D. Sexton for C. Sexton (45); A. Motherway for O’Driscoll (58); Ryan for Crowley (inj. 62).
Ken Healy (Ballymartle).
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