CONGRATULATIONS to Nemo Rangers on a 21st senior title.
The recent county final was won in the opening half where Nemo Rangers were that bit quicker in many facets of their game. Mentally, physically and tactically.
Duhallow will be bitterly disappointed. The first half performance was just not just not good enough, and it left them with a mountain to climb. The effort as a unit in the second half was much better but Duhallow could just not get that first goal.
As poor as Duhallow were, the scores were still level at two points a piece after the first quarter. Duhallow even could have been in front had Anthony O’Connor converted two 45s. It was surprising Donncha O’Connor didn’t step up but this may have due to injury. A dead ball specialist is really important particularly when a team is struggling to get scores from open play.
Down the other end Cork colleagues Kevin Crowley and Luke Connolly squared up to each other in the opening half and for the most part Crowley was doing well on the dangerous Nemo inside forward. Crowley though over committed to one tackle and Connolly was through to score Nemo’s second goal.
Duhallow conceded three kick-outs on a row, which provided Nemo with a easier route to goal. 2-1 was conceded in a matter of minutes and suddenly the game was nearly out of reach with Nemo leading 2-6 to 0-2 points.
For a second week in a row the Kanturk players were dealing with a big half time deficit. You couldn’t fault the effort though in the second half as Duhallow strove to somehow get back into the game.
A second half Duhallow resurgence was aided by Nemo’s lack of composure and poor decision making, which led to some sloppy turnovers. It’s amazing to see players make poor mistakes when they are not allowed to do what they want to do in possession.
We saw it in the Rugby World Cup, where the famous All Black team was destroyed by England in the semi-final. A collective performance from the England team which put massive pressure on the All Blacks both in attack and defense. The All Blacks were on the back foot for the most part and from a neutral perspective it was a performance to be admired.
It was the dream performance for any coach where the physical, technical, tactical and psychological components of performance were all integrating seamlessly at such a high level.
Eddie Jones is well renowned for making his training harder than games, and their preparations seemed spot on as the All Blacks couldn’t live with England’s intensity.
In the first half last Sunday in Páirc Uí Rinn it appeared Nemo were on a different level to Duhallow. Nemo’s performance though was nowhere near the overall consistency shown by England as on many occasions the final pass or shot was poor. Never the less they were still operating at a different gear to Duhallow.
Whether it was reacting to kick-outs or breaking ball, re-organizing defensively or transitioning ball into the forward line, things just seemed a lot easier for the Nemo players.
Once thing that stood out on the first half was the ability of the Nemo backs to attack at pace from deep. On a switch play, that ability to time you’re run and attack the space at pace and put the opposition on the back foot. The work rate of the Duhallow forwards wasn’t high enough and this quick transition ensured Nemo had more space to attack into at the other end.
Speed is a game changer but in a game context this still requires a player to make good decisions to ensure their speed can make a difference. In the first half Duhallow wasted a few good opportunities when the player in possession took the ball into contact or took too long to get his head up and move the ball to a player in a better position.
How often do we do hand passing drills where players are ahead of the ball as they receive the pass. Poor decision-making and neither the physical or technical been developed appropriately.
Nemo Rangers were blocking off the central channel well but then too many turnovers again and struggles on their own kick out in the second half ensured Duhallow still had plenty of possession.
Like many teams in their position Duhallow tried to force a goal when it wasn’t on. Instead easier point opportunities were wasted. That being said Michael Martin made a brilliant save from Anthony O’Connor.
There is a small margin between teams and sometimes the difference can be mental. Nemo Rangers no doubt have memories of last years no show versus Castlehaven to remind them of how bad they can be if preparations are not exactly right.
Duhallow meanwhile leading into the game were coming off the back of an easy win over Clonakilty and an expected win over Newcestown. Combined with this many players were still competing with their clubs over the last few weeks. The edge just didn’t seem to be their early on last Sunday. This will leave regrets over the winter months.
Nemo Rangers have much to improve on which should fuel their efforts on the training ground over the next few weeks. Still finals are not always about high performance but just making sure you do enough to win. Nemo most certainly did that.
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