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Bishopstown strike back against Knocknagree to take the spoils in Cork SAFC

Duhallow men had played with admirable assurance early on, but the tide turned in the city outfit’s favour


An early strike from the penalty spot by John F Daly wasn't enough to ensure victory over Bishopstown for Knocknagree on the weekend Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

An early strike from the penalty spot by John F Daly wasn't enough to ensure victory over Bishopstown for Knocknagree on the weekend Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

An early strike from the penalty spot by John F Daly wasn't enough to ensure victory over Bishopstown for Knocknagree on the weekend Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile



Bishopstown 2-14

Knocknagree 1-13

It all began so promisingly for Knocknagree in the Bon Secours county senior ‘A’ football championship encounter with Bishopstown at Mallow last Sunday.

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It wasn’t just because they were awarded a penalty which was clinically dispatched by John F Daly in the third minute that they had reason to feel satisfied with the way things began to shape up early on.

The fact is they performed with admirable assurance for the best part of 25 minutes, dictating the play with their tireless industry and polished possession football.

John F Daly’s strike from the penalty, won by Gearoid Looney, pushed them ahead for the first time at 1-1 to 0-1, and they were to remain in front for the rest of the opening half.

They led by 1-4 to 0-2 after 12 minutes, with Matthew Dilworth, Denis O’Connor, Gearoid Looney and wing-back Danny Cooper their other marksman up to that point.

Full-forward Jamie O’Sullivan had put his name on both of the city side’s scores, and he tacked on his third before placing Simon Collins for another in the 16th minute.

That O’Sullivan was a major thorn in the Knocknagree rear-guard was underlined when he pointed again to leave Bishopstown just four adrift, 1-6 to 0-5, with ten minutes to the interval.

He had almost singlehandedly kept Bishopstown in touch, while the threat from the Knocknagree attack appeared to be much more widespread, giving the Duhallow men another reason to be optimistic about their prospects as the first-half drew to a close.

Five of Knocknagree’s six starting forwards got on the scoresheet from play before the break, with Darragh Moynihan (two) and John F Daly sharing the points that completed their first-half tally.

Moynihan’s first point struck nonchalantly over the bar from way out on the right wing was an exquisite score, as was Danny Cooper’s effort from a similar position earlier.

All of which served to fuel the notion that Knocknagee were playing well within themselves.

Bishopstown hinted they were about to up their performance, however, when stringing two points together for the first time, courtesy of Paul Honohan and Conor Dunne, to make it 1-7 to 0-7 at the interval.

It didn’t take winners – benefiting from the switch of corner-forward Conor Dorman to midfield – long to confirm they finally had their act together on the resumption, as they went 1-8 to 1-7 ahead after impressive substitute Odie Devlin took a return pass from Dorman to drill the ball home with aplomb in the 33rd minute.

Shortly before that, Knocknagree defender Kealan Buckley had stopped a shot from Conor Dunne on the goal-line before picking the ball off the ground, allowing Jamie O’Sullivan to open Bishopstown’s second-half account from a free.

Dunne was again denied a three-pointer by Knocknagree custodian Patrick Doyle, who diverted a cracking shot over the bar before another Jamie O’Sullivan free conversion saw Bishopstown go 1-10 to 1-7 up with 39 minutes gone.

In view of their early dominance, it seemed as if Knocknagree had flattered to deceive, but, to their credit, they showed they weren’t a spent force at that juncture.

Aided by points from substitute Niall O’Connor, Michael McSweeney, Fintan O’Connor and McSweeney again they got back on terms before substitute James Dennehy nudged them ahead at 1-12 to 1-11 with five minutes of regulation time.

An enthralling battle for supremacy in the last quarter eventually tilted in Bishopstown’s favour, not least because of the return they got from the players sprung from the bench.

As well as Odie Devlin with his goal earlier, Liam Hogan slotted over two points in the closing stages, while Levent Arslan, shortly after replacing Devlin, provided a precision cross that allowed Brian McCarthy to set Conor Dunne up for a fisted goal in the 59th minute.

That made it 2-14 to 1-12 and sealed the fate of the 2020 premier intermediate kingpins, who - with the issue still delicately poised - sorely felt the absence of lion-hearted midfielder Michael McSweeney after he was forced off injured in the 54th minute.

Michael O’Mahony and Danny Cooper at the back, David O’Connor at midfield, and ubiquitous attacker Gearoid O’Connor were others to contribute generously to what, even in defeat, was a creditable Knocknagree performance in a contest abounding in free-flowing and constructive football.

Although pointless after two outings, Knocknagree aren’t yet out of the title-race, because if they win their last match in the group against Fermoy, and table-toppers St Michael’s account for Bishopstown, score difference will come into play to determine which team advances to the championship’s knock-out stages along with Michaels.

BISHOPSTOWN: K O’Halloran; D Costelloe, M Power, N Gough; A Sweeney, E Byrne, E Deasy; B McCarthy, P Flynn; C Dunne 1-2, P Honohan 0-2, J Murphy; S Collins 0-1, J O’Sullivan 0-6 (2f), C Dorman 0-1 Subs: O Devlin 1-0 for Flynn (injured), 38, L Hogan 0-2 for Murphy, 41, D Holland for Deasy, 45, l Arslan for Devlin, 56, C Connolly for Collins, 62.

KNOCKNAGREE: P Doyle; M O’Mahony, M Doyle, G O’Connor; D Cooper 0-1, K Buckley, T O’Connor; M McSweeney 0-2, David O’Connor; D Moynihan 0-2, M Dilworth 0-1, F O’Connor 0-1 (f); Denis O’Connor 0-1, J F Daly 1-1 (1-0 penalty), G Looney 0-2 Subs: N O’Connor 0-1 for Daly (injured), 37, J Dennehy 0-1 for T O’Connor, 38, D Twomey for McSweeney (injured), 54

REFEREE: A Hyland (Kilworth)