Nemo Rangers 2-17 Austin Stacks 0-5
NEMO Rangers cruised to their 19th Munster club football final following a comfortable win over Austin Stacks in front of a crowd of 1,267 at Pairc Rinn yesterday.
In their best display of recent times, the Cork champions managed all their scores from play and while there are obvious mitigating factors surrounding the opposition, it was still a very impressive showing.
Nemo played like a team in championship-mode unlike Stacks, who bowed out in round 2 in Kerry at the end of September and looked rusty in most aspects.
Yet, they started as if they meant business. Shane O'Callaghan forced a fine, diving save from keeper Micheal Aodh Martin for a '45 after just 20 seconds.
The Kerry side went short and created another opportunity for O'Callaghan, who again tried for goal only to be denied by full-back Aidan O'Reilly.
After that, however, it was all Nemo, who raced 1-9 to 0-2 clear by the interval as the visitors took 16 minutes to register their first score.
Nemo bossed midfield with Alan O'Donovan and James McDermott dominating in the air allowing the entire half-back line of Kevin O'Donovan, Stephen Cronin and Jack Horgan sweep forward to all claim points in the period.
Regular supplier of scores, Mark Cronin, Paul Kerrigan, Luke Connolly and captain Barry O'Driscoll, all found the range as the visitors struggled to get out of their own portion of the pitch and retain possession for any length of time.
Stacks, who lost full-back Barry Shanahan through injury in the 23rd minute, then conceded a goal, three minutes into stoppage time, to effectively end the tie as a contest.
Kerrigan's pace took him past the defence before setting up the scoring pass for Kevin O'Donovan to finish coolly with a low shot past keeper Darragh O'Brien and reflect his growing influence on proceedings.
The second-half went as predicted, resembling a procession at times with Nemo going through the motions to again continue from where they had left off in the first-half.
Their second goal came in the 45th minute, when Alan O'Donovan powered ahead from midfield to drill a strong shot low to the corner of the net for 2-13 to 0-3. If one brother can do it, so can I, seemed to be his declaration.
As is their wont, Nemo emptied their bench and, naturally enough, those newcomers wanted to have a say with Ciaran Dalton, goal scorer in the last round against Newcastle West, and Shane Martin adding to the tally.
Stacks, like the rest of us in the biting cold, couldn't wait for the final whistle, which arrived three minutes into injury-time, to everyone's relief.
Scorers for Nemo Rangers: K O'Donovan 1-2, P Kerrigan 0-5, A O'Donovan 1-0, B O'Driscoll, M Cronin 0-2 each, S Cronin, J Horgan, L Connolly, C Horgan, C Dalton, S Martin 0-1 each
Austin Stacks: S O'Callaghan, F Mangan, W Guthrie and D Fitzmaurice 0-1 each, S Quilter 0-1 f.
NEMO RANGERS: MA Martin; B Murphy, A O'Reilly, A Cronin; K O'Donovan, S Cronin, J Horgan; A O'Donovan, J McDermott; B O'Driscoll (c), P Kerrigan, C O'Brien; M Cronin, L Connolly, C Horgan.
Subs: C Dalton for Cronin, R Dalton for O'Brien and K Fulignati for McDermott 48, K Histon for Murphy 50, S Martin for K O'Donovan and B Cripps for O'Driscoll 57
AUSTIN STACKS: D O'Brien; C Griffin, B Shanahan, D Casey; J O'Sheam R Shanahan (c), J Morgan; J O'Connor, M O'Donnell; C O'Reilly, S O'Callaghan, F Mangan; S Quilter, K Donaghy, W Guthrie.
Subs: M O'Gara for B Shanahan injured 22, D O'Brien for Quilter and P McCarthy for O'Reilly 38, S Walsh for Griffin 49, D Fitzmaurice for O'Donnell 50 mins, G Fitzgerald for O'Callaghan 52.
Referee: S Lonergan (Tipperary)