Nemo Rangers 1-9 Newcastle West 0-9
IT was much harder than anticipated, but Nemo Rangers reached the Munster club football semi-final despite a stern examination from rank outsiders, Newcastle West, in Mallow.
When Luke Connolly played a pin-point pass to Paul Kerrigan, three minutes into the second-half, it set in motion a move that ended in classic Nemo fashion. Kerrigan took on his marker on the outside, cut in from the right, and spotted Ciaran Dalton all alone at the far post.
Kerrigan, the former Cork captain, picked him out with a perfectly judged hand-pass and Dalton, in for the injured captain, Barry O’Driscoll, fisted home the only goal.
It was followed, moments later, by a Stephen Cronin hand-passed point that put the Cork champions 1-7 to 0-4 in front and seemingly in control.
But, Newcastle West belied Nemo’s crazy, 1/40 odds by thundering back into the contest. Three points in four minutes had cancelled out Dalton’s goal. The score was 1-7 to 0-7 after 42 minutes. A fine Mark Cronin point for Nemo couldn’t deter the Limerick champions, as impressive Newcastle midfielders, Iain Corbett and Sean Murphy, cut the deficit to two points, 1-8 to 0-9, with seven minutes’ regulation time left.
Nemo could have spared themselves further problems had either Cronin or Conor Horgan availed of a glorious goal-scoring opportunity in the 59th minute.
Keeper Michael Quilligan denied Horgan, for a ’45, which Connolly expertly converted, though five minutes’ additional time offered Newcastle West hope. A minute from the end, substitute James Kelly had a shot from the right smothered by the Nemo defence and with it went the Limerick side’s hopes of forcing extra-time.
Nemo had led 0-6 to 0-4 at half-time after five players (three from the Cork champions) were yellow-carded in added-on time of the first-half.
Nemo started the second-half by scoring the opening four points, before Newcastle West settled and claimed three on the trot. Nemo went 13 minutes without scoring, until Connolly made it 0-5 to 0-3 in the 25th minute and wing-back Kevin O’Donovan bagged another. Three minutes into injury-time, Corbett kicked a superb point to leave the Limerick champions still in the hunt at the interval.
Scorers for Nemo: L Connolly 0-5 (0-1 f, 0-1 45), C Dalton 1-1, M Cronin, K O’Donovan, S Cronin 0-1 each
Newcastle West: I Corbett 0-3, E Hurley 0-3 (0-2 f), S Murphy and S Brosnan 0-1 each, T Quilligan 0-1f
NEMO RANGERS: MA Martin; B Murphy, A O’Reilly, A Cronin, captain; K O’Donovan, S Cronin, J Horgan; A O’Donovan, J McDermott; C Dalton, P Kerrigan, C O’Brien; L Connolly, M Cronin, C Horgan.
Subs: K Fulignati for J Horgan 52, R Dalton for O’Brien 57
NEWCASTLE WEST: M Quilligan; M O’Leary, M O’Keeffe, D O’Doherty; W Hurley, S Brosnan, S Hurley; S Murphy, I Corbett; B Hurley, AJ O’Connor, T Quilligan, captain; E Hurley, M McMahon, J Lee.
Subs: B Nix for O’Connor 43, L Woulfe for W Hurley 50, B Kelly for B Hurley 51, J Kelly for McMahon 57, B Foley for E Hurley injured 59
Referee: P O’Sullivan (Kerry).