Nemo Rangers 3-12 Douglas 0-7
CORK county SFC title number 21 is in touching distance for Nemo Rangers after a dominant performance ensured victory over neighbours Douglas at Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday.
A repeat of the 1988 final against Duhallow is in store in a fortnight and Nemo, last champions in 2017, will go in in a positive frame of mind, albeit with the knowledge that they could and probably should have won by more here.
Before Paul Kerrigan scored the game’s opening goal in the 21st minute to make it 1-4 to 0-3, Nemo had gone close to green flags on three previous occasions but a combination of wastefulness and Douglas goalkeeper Brian Boyle prevented the chances from being converted.
However, after Kerrigan’s goal, Paul O’Donovan’s side were in control and they retired with a 2-7 to 0-4 half-time lead, the second goal coming from Alan O’Donovan while Douglas had gone without a score from the eighth minute until just before the whistle.
While Shane Kingston did have the second half’s opening score, Nemo’s third goal came from the resultant kickout, Kerrigan on hand again, and from there to the end it was a procession for the Trabeg side.
Nemo have never lost to Douglas in the championship and Mark Cronin’s early free set them on their way but Douglas competed well in the opening stages, with Niall Hartnett prominent as Conor Russell and Séan Powter moved them 0-3 to 0-2 ahead.
Indeed, they might have found a goal as Kingston’s run took him into goal-scoring range but he was crowded out and goalkeeper Micheál Martin cleared, with no other Douglas score registered until the 29th minute.
In between, Nemo put together an unanswered 1-5, with warning signs coming as Barry O’Driscoll almost had a goal chance only to be penalised for a pick off the ground while Boyle saved well from Kerrigan.
After Luke Connolly levelled with the subsequent 45, Conor Horgan almost goaled for Nemo, his low shot just wide, but after Kevin O’Donovan put Nemo in front, Kerrigan forced a turnover from the kickout and a nice one-two with Horgan put him in for an easy finish.
With Colin ‘Tucker’ O’Brien latching on to a lot of breaking ball and O’Donovan and James McDermott getting a strong foothold in midfield, Nemo seared ahead and it was 1-7 to 0-3 before James Holland ended Douglas’s drought. In response though, Nemo scored another goal, with Conor Horgan’s pass allowing Alan O’Donovan to run towards goal unimpeded before sending a low shot to the net.
The nine-point half-time lead was reduced slightly by Kingston in the 32nd minute but Nemo’s response was devastating. Alan O’Donovan won Martin’s restart and found Conor Horgan, who in turn fed Mark Cronin and his handpass allowed Kerrigan to palm home his second goal and knock whatever life was left out of the contest.
Douglas would only add two more points from there to the end, both frees by Holland, while Nemo kept the scoreboard ticking over. Corner-back Brian Murphy capped a fine display with a well-taken score, wing-back Jack Horgan did likewise and Mark Cronin and Kerrigan pushed them 13 ahead before Kevin O’Donovan had the final say with his second point of the afternoon.
Douglas finished with 14 a Seán Powter was black-carded in the dying embers of the game with all six of their substitutes used.
Nemo will know that a tougher challenge awaits them in the final on October 20, but county finals are the city club’s oxygen, with just on defeat in the decider in the past two decades.
Scorers for Nemo Rangers: P Kerrigan 2-1, L Connolly 0-4 (0-2 f, 0-1 45), M Cronin 0-3 (0-2 f), A O’Donovan 1-0, K O’Donovan 0-2, B Murphy, J Horgan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Douglas: J Holland 0-3 (0-2 frees), S Kingston 0-2, S Powter, C Russell 0-1 each.
NEMO RANGERS: M Martin; B Murphy, A O’Reilly, A Cronin; J Horgan, S Cronin, K O’Donovan; A O’Donovan, J McDermott; B O’Driscoll, P Kerrigan, C O’Brien; M Cronin, L Connolly, C Horgan.
Subs: C Dalton for O’Driscoll, R Dalton for C O’Brien (both 47), B Cripps for J Horgan (55), S Martin for Murphy (58).
DOUGLAS: B Boyle; D Sheehan, N Walsh, L McGrath; S Wilson, E Cadogan, K Flahive; B Hartnett, N Hartnett; D Hanrahan, S Powter, S Collins; J Holland, S Kingston, C Russell.
Subs: B Lynch for Hanrahan (34), D Murphy for McGrath (38), S McCarthy for Russell (43), B Collins for S Collins (49), L Dineen for Kingston, A O’Connell for Holland (both 58).
Referee: J Ryan (Macroom).