Nemo Rangers 3-8 Valley Rovers 1-9
NEMO Rangers’ big players delivered again in the opening game in the Bon Secours Hospital County Senior Football Championship at Cloughduv yesterday evening.
Luke Connolly, Paul Kerrigan, and Barry O’Driscoll, as well the evergreen Colin O’Brien, helped quell a spirited Valley Rovers, for whom Fiachra Lynch excelled.
A sensational opening saw two goals inside the opening four minutes.
Valleys’ Jack Walsh finished well with a low shot to the corner of the net after good approach play by Fiachra Lynch and Chris O’Leary.
Nemo responded immediately, as Kerrigan set up Conor O’Donovan for the equalising goal at the other end.
That settled the champions, and soon a flowing move ended in a Kerrigan fisted point in the 13th minute. O’Driscoll added a second moments later.
Last year’s captain was denied a goal in the next attack after Valleys full-back David Lyons produced a trademark block as Nemo threatened again.
The Innishannon club went 15 minutes without a score before two came either side of the water-break, both frees converted by Lynch after Valleys put Nemo under pressure when trying to come out with the ball.
They regained the lead after 26 minutes with an Eoin O’Reilly point, 1-3 to 1-2, but Nemo replied in devastating fashion with a second goal.
Kerrigan did well to help turn the ball over before picking out the unmarked Connolly, who raced through to score with a low drive to make it 2-2 to 1-3 at the interval.
The holders’ big players were central to stretching their lead on the resumption — O’Driscoll and Connolly, with a beauty from distance, either side of O’Reilly firing across goal.
Another Lynch free made it a goal-game, 2-4 to 1-4, before he nailed a super effort from play to offer more encouragement for the outsiders.
Connolly pounced again, however, availing of an O’Driscoll pass before a determined run, which ended with a cracking shot to the far corner of the net — 3-4 to 1-5 after 43 minutes.
Lynch’s accuracy from placed balls kept Valleys in touch, though the influence of Connolly and Kerrigan ensured Nemo made a winning start to their title defence.
Scorers for Nemo Rangers: L Connolly 2-3 (0-1 f), C O’Donovan 1-0, B O’Driscoll 0-3 (0-1 f), P Kerrigan 0-2.
Scorers for Valley Rovers: F Lynch 0-7 (0-4 f, 0-1 45), J Walsh 1-0, E O’Reilly and K Canty 0-1 each.
NEMO RANGERS: MA Martin; captain, A Cronin, K Histon, B Cripps; K O’Donovan, S Cronin, J Horgan; P Morgan, J McDermott; C Horgan, L Connolly, C O’Brien; C O’Donovan, B O’Driscoll, P Kerrigan.
Sub: B Murphy for Histon injured 55.
VALLEY ROVERS: C Desmond; D Muckian, D Lynch, A Lyons; J Kiely, I Crowley, T O Brien; K Canty, C O’Leary; J Walsh, E Delaney, captain, R O’Sullivan; J Cottrell, F Lynch, D Ó Sé.
Subs: E O’Reilly for Cottrell 19, W Hurley for O’Leary 40, T O’Brien for Ó Sé 47.
Referee: J Ryan (Macroom).