IT will hardly be spoken about in Trabeg in the coming week or so, but that Michael Quinlivan goal in the Munster final of 2015 will be in the minds of many, especially the players that were involved on that occasion in Mallow.
Nemo were on the verge of claiming the Munster title four years ago only for Quinlivan’s prowess to steal provincial success away from them.
The Clonmel Commercials’ attacker struck in additional-time to raise a decisive green flag that day and you can rest assured it will be a motivating factor for Nemo’s players next Sunday week as the clubs collide in the Munster final again.
Of course, it is not something that will be to the forefront of Nemo minds, but it is there in the background and will add an extra edge to their arsenal in the provincial decider.
Manager Paul O’Donovan suggested the aforementioned loss to Commercials will “have no relevance” when it comes to the clubs’ up-coming meeting.
Yet, he admitted the manner in which Nemo were caught so late in the day then was gut-wrenching.
“We looked like we were going to win that game. We were two points up in the 62nd minute, if I remember right. A high ball comes in, Michael Quinlivan wins it and slips it into the goal. No matter what sport you are in, that kind of score is a gut-punch. Obviously, we have recovered since then, won two counties, and so it will have no relevance,” O’Donovan said after Nemo absolutely torched Austin Stacks last Sunday.
“We have 35/36 in the panel and some of the best tests we have had is in our A versus B games. We are delighted to be still playing at this time of year and delighted to be in a Munster final.”
And Nemo were incredibly impressive in reaching said Munster final.
To score 2-17, all from play, in a provincial semi-final against Kerry representatives is fair clipping in anybody’s language.
Yet, what will probably please O’Donovan and his management team as much, if not more, is the fact Nemo are Munster club football’s Ebenezeer Scrooge this festive season – miserly and all business.
Furthermore, a truly relaxing and enjoyable Christmas period is unlikely to be on their agenda should they justify odds-on favouritism and land the Munster title.
Yes, there will be no talk whatsoever of a potential All-Ireland semi-final showdown with Corofin, but that possible match-up is getting closer to becoming a reality in the new year.
Obviously, if Nemo were to overcome Commercials, I think everybody will agree that the Galway outfit will be a couple of levels up on the quality scale than what the Cork champions have encountered this term.
However, were the clubs to clash and Nemo perform as efficiently and as ruthlessly on that day as they were last Sunday, there is no reason why they cannot book a place in the All-Ireland final.
Nevertheless, one step at a time and all that. What will concern O’Donovan and his players now is how they will impose their own gameplan and talents on Commercials.
Referring, once again, to the miserly factor of Nemo’s journey thus far in this elongated campaign, defensively, Nemo have not been coughing up goals recently. Additionally, Nemo’s average concession in their last five championship outings is just 0-8.
Commercials scored 0-9 in their defeat of St Joseph’s, Miltown Malbay last Sunday but will have to up the ante considerably if they are to really trouble Nemo’s rearguard.
It is highly likely that having Gary Murphy in the backroom team is helping Nemo’s defensive cause.
Murphy was a teak-tough, rock-solid defender himself, a classically sticky corner-back, and he will be imparting more little nuggets of information to O’Donovan’s defenders as they seek to snuff out yet another attack next Sunday week.
Also, the form of Paul Kerrigan is a primary ingredient in Nemo’s simmering broth.
The secondary school teacher is enjoying some of the best form of his career in the last few months and the way in which he orchestrated Nemo’s attack again last Sunday was majestic in its implementation.
Kerrigan has been revitalised since the summer when he was on fire for Cork and Commercials will be keen to nullify the roaming centre-forward.
Yet, that will be much easier said than done and it is more likely Kerrigan will be a crucial component in Nemo’s attack again in the Munster final.
Kevin O’Donovan, scorer of Nemo’s first goal in the 18-point demolition of Stacks, is in excellent form as well, as is Jack Horgan, operating from the other wing-back berth.
Up until last Sunday, Nemo had been performing in fits and starts during their games.
For a spell, they could be devastating, but would then switch off for a period.
However, there was far more consistency throughout their performance against Stacks and if they can maintain that consistency of performance, Commercials are unlikely to deny the city club a 17th provincial title.
Certainly, O’Donovan has Nemo in a brilliant place, at present, and further silverware is on the horizon now.