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Barry O'Driscoll of Nemo Rangers shoots to score his side's second goal last weekend. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton
Barry O'Driscoll of Nemo Rangers shoots to score his side's second goal last weekend. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton
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Kerrigan: Nemo are ready to have a right cut off Crokes

IN normal circumstances Cork captain, Paul Kerrigan, should be down under trying to cope with temperatures in the mid 30s.

Instead of doing his bit for Ireland against Australia in the Compromise Rules two-game series, Kerrigan was helping Nemo Rangers to an 18th Munster club final following their ruthless 19-point destruction of rookies, Adare, in Mallow on Sunday.

Paul Kerrigan. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Paul Kerrigan. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

He stamped his class on proceedings from the outset, sprinting clear of the defence to plant the opening two points, part of his six-point haul which stretched his overall tally in the championship to 2-20.

Nemo didn't hang about in establishing their authority and first-half goals from Luke Connolly, making it 5-33 in total, and Barry O'Driscoll, who now has 3-18 to his name, effectively ended the game as a contest.

“The two goals took the sting out of the game. We got 4-12 from play in the county final replay and that had never been done before by Nemo. Scoring 2-17 against Adare was another good return,” Kerrigan added.

Luke Connolly of Nemo Rangers in action. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton
Luke Connolly of Nemo Rangers in action. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton

The Cork champions restricted newcomers Adare to just a couple of points in the opening half and were 10 clear by the change of ends.

“It was a case of job done. We thought they might attack the game more in the second-half, but they continued with the two sweepers. We kept tacking on the points.

“The positives are that we're in a Munster final and we blooded a few lads as well. Fellows are chomping at the bit to get in.

“You had Conor Horgan and Michael Dorgan getting game-time and that's important because we're going to need them the next day.” 

With defending Munster and All-Ireland champions, Dr Croke's from Killarney, also strolling to the final, it sets-up a juicy 2010 repeat on Sunday week.

The Kerry champions had 15 points to spare from Clare's Killmurry-Ibrickane and Croke's can parade the likes of Fionn Fitzgerald, Johnny Buckley, Ambrose O'Donovan, Colm Cooper, Daithí Casey and Kieran O'Leary, among others.

Little wonder then that 'Gooch' and company are the 1/3 favourites to claim their fifth title in seven years and 9/4 joint favourites with Corofin to retain their national crown.

Nemo are 2/1 to add to their 15 Munster titles, surprisingly long odds for a club of such standing though they reflect the enormity of the challenge facing the Trabeg club.

But, as you would expect, Kerrigan is defiant and upbeat about their chances of finishing the year on a major high.

“This particularly Nemo group has won two counties, beating form teams like Castlehaven and St Finbarr's in the finals and we're used to playing in big finals.

“We will be the underdogs against the All-Ireland champions, but we're really looking forward to it.

“It's going to be our last game of 2017 and we will go and try and have a right cut off it,” he declared.

At the time of writing details of the final the weekend after next hadn't been finalised.

The 2010 version wasn't played until the end of January in 2011, the fixture taking almost two-and-a-half months to complete.

That was because of two postponements, two venue changes and an hour delay due to a frozen pitch.

And on top of that the curtain-raiser went to extra-time, resulting in a 4pm throw-in time, eventually.

Mallow housed the game, which Nemo won by 1-15 to 1-13, having been 1-13 to 0-3 in front at half-time after playing with a near-hurricane in the first-half.

Croke's reduced the deficit to two points with an O'Leary goal in injury-time, but Nemo hung on.

The north Cork club are well used to catering for big games and it's a true neutral venue though the pitch could do with a bit of a roll.

Westmeath champions, St Loman's, are the new 6/4 favourites in Leinster following the shock defeat of holders, St Vincent's, and Portlaoise's exit at the hands of Kildare's Moorefield.