Nemo Rangers 0-10 St Finbarr’s 1-6
NEMO RANGERS scored the last six points to record their 20th Kelleher Shield victory in an exciting Rochestown Park Hotel Division 1 league final at rain-lashed Páirc Uí Rinn last night.
St Finbarr’s looked to be on course for an historic first championship-league double when leading by 1-6 to 0-4 entering the closing quarter only for their great rivals to stun them with a storming finish.
It was the fifth time Nemo denied the Barrs a coveted double, an unwelcome sequence started by Clonakilty in 1976.
And the county champions will kick themselves for not completing the job because Enda Dennehy looked certain to goal a minute from the end of normal time when Michael Aodh Martin’s outstretched leg kept his side in contention.
Ninety seconds later, as the Barrs tried to run down the clock, a miscued Stephen Sherlock cross-field pass was intercepted which led to an equalising point from captain Barry O’Driscoll.
And then, four minutes into injury-time, the skipper, who only came on for the second half came up trumps with the winner to break Barrs hearts.
It was a typical local derby with nine yellow and four black cards issued by busy referee Conor Lane with a lot of off-camera action though it never boiled over.
Conditions changed just before the throw-in with a dirty drizzle swirling around the ground before turning into a downpour during the second-half and the obvious knock-on effects.
The Barrs didn’t have Dylan Quinn, Eoin Comyns and Michael Shields, among others missing, while Nemo didn’t start O’Driscoll though he made some difference when introduced.
Alan McCarthy, Jamie Burns and Robert O’Mahony started for the Barrs while Mark Cronin came in for O’Driscoll.
The Togher club led by 0-4 to 0-3 at the end of a tetchy first-half during which both sides received three yellow cards each, culminating in a black for Nemo corner-forward Conor O’Donovan just before the break.
Luke Connolly opened the scoring with a free after 90 seconds before the Barrs responded with three on the trot.
O’Mahony levelled in the eighth minute and Sherlock scored twice in as many minutes, finding the target from the right on both occasions for 0-3 to 0-1 after the opening quarter.
Paul Kerrigan’s opening score almost immediately cut the gap to the minimum and they were level again with Connolly’s second free after 24 minutes. Prior to that Sherlock hit a post with a free.
He did manage to nail a beauty from distance, three minutes later, and the Barrs coughed up a glorious goal-scoring chance in the next attack.
Burns fielded a glorious high ball which led to O’Mahony through with only keeper Martin to beat, but his low shot slipped just wide of the upright.
On the resumption, O’Mahony and Connolly exchanged super points to kick-start an intriguing second-half in which Nemo lost Kevin O’Donovan and Alan Cronin to black cards.
A Sherlock free made it 0-6 to 0-4 after 37 minutes and then the Barrs pounced for the only goal, eight minutes later.
Burns was highly influential in its creation, setting up Eoghan McGreevey, who finished expertly to hand his side a five-point lead, which appeared imposing in the deteriorating conditions.
Nemo remained unfazed, however. A couple of O’Driscoll frees and a point from play from Shane Martin reduced the deficit to 1-6 to 0-7 before the Barrs lost Colm Scully to a black card after 55 minutes.
Connolly converted the resulting free to create a tense finish in which the Barrs were made to pay for not putting the tie to bed.
Scorers for Nemo Rangers: L Connolly 0-4 (0-3 f), B O’Driscoll 0-4 (0-2 f), P Kerrigan and S Martin 0-1 each
St Finbarr’s: E McGreevey 1-0, S Sherlock 0-4 (0-2 f), R O’Mahony 0-2
NEMO RANGERS: MA Martin; K O’Donovan, A O’Reilly, A Cronin, captain; S Martin, S Cronin, K Fulignati; J Horgan, D Nation; C Horgan, P Kerrigan, C O’Brien; L Connolly, P Kerrigan, C O’Donovan.
Subs: B O’Driscoll for C O’Donovan black card 29, B Cripps for K O’Donovan black card, 36, C Dalton for C Horgan 46, B Twomey for A Cronin black card 49.
ST FINBARR’S: J Kerins; C Dennehy, G O’Connor, A McCarthy; C Lyons, A O’Connor, C Scully; I Maguire, captain, J Burns; D O’Brien, R O’Mahony, E Dennehy; C Barrett, E McGreevey, S Sherlock.
Subs: E Finn for O’Mahony 52, P Kennedy for Scully black card 56, K Hodgins for O’Brien 60+2.
Referee: C Lane (Banteer).