Sarsfields have the edge in cagey final
CORK SHC FINAL: Sarsfields 1-15 Bishopstown 1-13:AN IMPROVED second-half display against the wind helped Sarsfields win their third title in five years against debutants Bishopstown at Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday.
It was Sars’ fifth title, but they were the first to admit that Bishopstown, who survived a relegation play-off 12 months ago, extended them all the way in a cagey decider watched by a crowd of just over 11,000.
The city club underlined the seriousness of their approach by leading 0-9 to 0-7 at half-time after Sars registered all eight wides in the period.
And Bishopstown were still there with seven minutes remaining, when the game took a decisive turn Sars’ way. Substitute Eoin O’Sullivan’s tenacity was rewarded with a dangerous cross from the right for Robert O’Driscoll to first-time the ball to the net from close-range.
It was a brilliant finish from the corner forward and Sars, champions in 2008 and 2010, could sense another looming large as they edged 1-13 to 0-12 in front, forcing their opponents to alter their approach.
Although Patrick Cronin gathered his sixth point from play almost immediately, Sars responded in the style of pending champions – Kieran ‘Fraggy Murphy and another Cork attacker, Cian McCarthy, quickly adding a couple from play and a free to open up a five-point gap, the widest of the afternoon.
Yet, Sars were forced to endure some anxious moments in two minutes’ injury-time, especially when Bishopstown substitute David Hickey poked home a scrambled goal near the end before the clock ran out on their bid for glory.
Such a hectic climax contrasted with a tactical battle for the most part which produced a number of intriguing individual tussles, none more tantalising than that of Michael Cussen against Shane O’Neill.
Despite conceding an obvious height advantage the Bishopstown full back compensated with clever tackling and stick-work in a fascinating joust and it was something similar at the other end, where Michael Power notched 0-3 off Sars full back and captain Joe Barry in the first-half.
SARSFIELDS:A Kennedy; D Kenneally, J Barry, captain, C OSullivan; E Martin, R Ryan, D Roche; E Quigley, D Kearney (0-1); W Kearney, C McCarthy (0-8, six frees), G OLoughlin (0-1); R ODriscoll (1-1), M Cussen (0-2), K Murphy (0-1). Subs: T Óg Murphy (0-1) for W Kearney half-time, E OSullivan for Roche (45 mins).
BISHOPSTOWN:K OHalloran; D Lester, S ONeill, C ODriscoll; B Healy, I Jones, R Ryan; K ODriscoll, B Murray (0-1); R Conway, P Cronin (0-6, two frees),T Murray (0-1); D Crowley (0-1), M Power (0-3), G McGlacken (0-1). Subs: J Murphy for K ODriscoll (45 mins), P Honohan for Crowley (48 mins), M Driscoll for Ryan (54 mins), D Hickey (1-0) for McGlacken (57 mins).