Midleton had to withstand a strong second-half Bishopstown fightback before narrowly winning this hard fought clash at Riverstown yesterday.
The Magpies got a psychological boost following a goal from full-forward Kieran Mulcahy after 14 minutes and, if they hadn’t shot nine wides in the first-half, would have been further than four points ahead at the break.
Bishopstown were typically fit and their challenge ignited just after the break, benefiting from a fortuitous goal when a long ball from midfielder Kevin O’Driscoll took a wicked bounce on the greasy surface and slipped past Tommy Wallis.
It gave the city team momentum and they will certainly rue the fact they didn’t capitalise on the scoreboard during the next 15 minutes when they dominated.
Midleton, who had to hang on for periods of that second- half, came good again at the end and late points from Conor Lehane, Pádraig O’Shea and Paudie O’Keeffe saw them home.
This game was expected to be a close encounter and the early exchanges indicated it would be. Pa Cronin and Shane O’Neill were influential early on but Conor Lehane had two points on the board after just five minutes and seemed to be in the zone.
Elsewhere in the forward line Midleton were trying to get their other youthful attackers involved but both Luke O’Farrell and Paul Haughney were closely marked by Ian Jones and Diarmuid Lester, finding little space at that stage. It was left to Padraig O’Shea, one of Midleton’s best performers on the day, to provide great leadership on the 40.
The score stood at 0-3 each after 14 minutes when the game’s first decisive moment arrived. A 90-metre free by Sean Hennessy broke around the Bishopstown square and Kieran Mulcahy buried it.
This gave Midleton confidence and put a bit of daylight between the teams even though Pa Cronin responded immediately with a quality point. Paul Haughney got the last Midleton score of the half on the stroke of half time after Luke O’Farrell went down with a hamstring injury and had to be replaced which will no doubt add to Jimmy Barry Murphy’s headaches for the upcoming Tipperary match.
Midleton led 1-8 to 0-7 at the break but their wides tally of nine was a concern. The game took another turn with O’Driscoll’s goal after the break and Bishopstown were now hurling with a greater intensity and confidence as the rain poured down. Denis Crowley switched into full forward at the break and was causing problems and a breaking ball off him found Ronan Conway who was dragged down for a penalty.
Up stepped Cronin but his piledriver was brilliantly saved and cleared by Tommy Wallis who redeemed himself for his earlier mistake.
Cronin was dominating around the middle of the field, despite Midleton trying a number of different markers on him, and a point from Brian Murray edged Bishopstown into the lead heading into the final quarter.
Crowley was unlucky to see his high pull just miss the target and Midleton were struggling to get the ball to Lehane who was surrounded every time he went near it.
Both teams swapped scores and entering the last five minutes the city team were still one to the good when a more influential Seamus O’Farrell equalised and Padraig O’Shea put them into the lead. Bishopstown had good chances to square things up again but an excellent Michael Power chance was spurned and Pa Cronin was also off target with a free.
The last word fell to useful Midleton substitute Paudie O’Keeffe who pointed with time almost up.
Scorers for Midleton: C Lehane 0-4, P O’Shea, S Hennessy (3fs) 0-3 each, K Mulcahy 1-0, P Haughney, P O’Keeffe 0-2 each, J Nagle 0-1.
Scorers for Bishopstown: P Cronin 0-7 (4fs), K O’ Driscoll 1-0, T Murray 0-2fs, G McGlacken, B Murray, M Power, J Murphy 0-1 each.
MIDLETON: T Wallis; K Burke, D Ryan, P O’Mahony; J Nagle, F O’Mahony, E Walsh; S O’ Farrell, P Dowling; C Lehane, P O’Shea, S Hennessy; L O’Farrell, K Mulcahy, P Haughney.
Subs: P O’Keeffe for L O’Farrell (inj. 30), J Keane for Hennessy (60).
BISHOPSTOWN: K O’Halloran; D Lester, S O’Neill, I Jones; C O’Driscoll, B Healy, R Ryan; K O’Driscoll, T Murray; P Cronin, M Power, G McGlacken; B Murray, R Conway, D Crowley.
Subs: J Murphy (temp) for Crowley (27), J Murphy for T Murray (ht), J O’Sullivan for Ryan (57).
Referee: D Kirwan (Éire Óg)
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