Nemo Rangers 1-13
THERE was to be no denying Nemo Rangers yesterday afternoon in Páirc Uí Rinn as they made no mistake at the second time of asking in capturing the U21 A football championship for the 14th time.
Pegged back in the drawn game a week ago, the Trabeg outfit proved to be a more balanced side overall as they saw off the spirited Kilmurry challenge.
The winning of the game came in a clinical seven-minute period of the second half, one that saw Nemo reel off 1-4 without reply, turning a slender 0-7 to 0-6 lead into an unassailable 1-11 to 0-6 one.
The points came from James O’Donovan, Eoin Nation, Aaron Brown and the excellent Ronan Dalton while Mark Cronin added the cherry of a goal from a penalty in the 48th minute.
The spread of scorers was further evidence of the greater balance to this Nemo team. They had seven scorers overall and kicked 10 points from play in very difficult conditions. Kilmurry, on the other hand, were overly-reliant on the free-taking of Joe Ryan and didn’t manage their first score from play until the 40th minute.
The first-half, however, was a very even affair.
There was never more than a point between the two sides and they were level on four occasions.
Kilmurry kept edging ahead through frees from Joe Ryan and Seán Warren while Nemo kept coming back at them with two Ronan Dalton scores from play, another one from Robbie Wyse and a Mark Cronin free.
Kilmurry were probably slightly the better of the two sides in that time with Liam O’Sullivan prominent in defence but they never quite made their slight superiority count on the place that matters most, the scoreboard.
The closest they came to engineering a decent lead was when Eoghan Clifford fetched a Ryan ’45 from the air and shot quickly only to see his effort blocked by full-back Brian Murphy. Unfortunately for Kilmurry, despite all their endeavour, it was Nemo who went in 0-5 to 0-4 in front when Ronan Dalton slotted over his third point. It was a lead that they wouldn’t surrender.
The Nemo that emerged for the second period was a different animal. There was more pace to their play, more poise in possession and a greater purpose to their passing as they added some inspiration to their graft.
Aaron Browne stretched their lead after the interval, Joe Ryan reduced it with his fourth free before Mark Cronin and Liam Wall traded scores to leave things as they were at the break, 0-7 to 0-6.
At this stage, the game seemed set to turn into a war of attrition but then came Nemo’s salvo of 1-4.
The four points might have been manageable for Kilmurry, but the penalty was a fatal blow as if left them staring down the barrel and trailing by 1-11 to 0-6 with 12 minutes to go.
They gave it their best shot, however, with consecutive points from James O’Mullane and Eoghan Clifford but, in general, there was no getting better of the Nemo defence, and their full-back line in particular.
Nemo ran down the clock well after that and two more points from Colm Kiely took away any sting that might have been in the Kilmurray tail.
Referee Pa O’Driscoll had to flash three red-cards after an added-time shemozzle that belied the good spirit the game was played in but there was to be no taking away from Nemo’s victory.
And with 14 of the starting 15 underage again for next year, their future is as bright as ever.
Scorers for Nemo Rangers: M Cronin 1-2 (1-0 pen, 0-2 f), R Dalton 0-4 (0-1 f), C Kiely and A Brown 0-2 each, E Nation, J O’Donovan and R Wyse 0-1 each.
Kilmurray: J Ryan 0-4 (f), S Warren (f), J O’Mullane, L Wall and E Clifford 0-1 each.
NEMO: D Horgan, A McGowan, B Murphy, S O’Dwyer, E Nation, K O’Donovan, J O’Donovan, B Cripps, J Lyons, C Kiely, R Dalton, R Wyse, M Cronin, J Coogan, A Brown.
Subs: J Allen for Wyse (inj 38), B Lyons for McGowan and C Shalloe for Lyons (both 62).
KILMURRY: E Curzon, M Dromey, F Warren, W Ronan, K Kelleher, L O’Sullivan, B Hinchion, M Healy, J Casey, L Wall, E Clifford, J O’Mullane, S Warren, J Ryan, E Carroll.
Subs: T Collins for Casey (27), L Aisling for Carroll, D Linehan for Dromey (both 48), G Fitton for Warren (58), J Casey for O’Mullane (bc 62).
Referee: Pa O’Driscoll (Bride Rovers).