Ó Sé and Kerrigan are back for Nemo

Ó Sé and Kerrigan are back for Nemo
Tomás Ó Sé (left) in the parade at the county final. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

SATURDAY: All-Ireland Club football semi-final: Nemo Rangers v Slaughtneil, Portlaoise, 4.30pm. Live on TG4.

NEMO, the most successful club in the land, welcome back Tomás Ó Sé to the defence as they go in search of a St Patrick's Day showdown with Galway's Corofin at Croke Park.

The Kerry legend missed the Munster club final win over the defending All-Ireland champions, Dr Croke's, way back at the end of November, but Ó Sé is in flying form once again.

Paul Kerrigan suffered a knee injury in the closing stages of Nemo's 0-16 to 0-11 provincial final success, but he has recovered in time and set to take his place in a side set to show just the one change.

Even though it's almost three months since Nemo chalked up Munster title number 16, they've not allowed the grass grow under their feet, as manager Larry Kavanagh outlined.

“The players wanted to continue training in December so we went with it. We've played five games in the period, including two Kelleher Shield games against O'Donovan Rossa and Mallow,” he said.

Despite the time of year with pitches in their usual bad state due to the weather, Kavanagh is happy with the team's preparations.

“Some of lads had the flu as well and obviously couldn't get involved but we've prepared as well as we could.” 

Even though Nemo lead the roll-of-honour with seven All-Irelands to their name, one more than Crossmaglen Rangers, the Cork champions are considered slight outsiders with the bookies.

They're making the Derry and Ulster champions marginal favourites to reach their third final in recent years, though Slaughtneil have yet to have their name inscribed on the Andy Merrigan Cup.

That's based on their greater experience, Nemo not having qualified for the last four since 2007, a season in which they lost to St Vincent's by a point in the final.

Slaughtneil have been Ulster champions in three of the last four seasons and got to the final in 2017 and again in 2014, though they tasted defeat on both occasions.

Last season, Slaughtneil had a midfielder dismissed close on half-time and yet only lost by two point to Dr Croke's, having also gone under to Corofin in their maiden appearance.

“We've watched a lot of them which isn't hard to do because they're such a high profile club.

“In many respects, Slaughtneil are a traditional club in that they play man-to-man and are very direct.

“One of their more interesting aspects is that they are very fast in possession and it's not unusual to see corner-backs continuing their run and shooting at the other end of the pitch.

“Slaughtneil don't have a marque forward either, a fellow who can get you a chunk of scores. Instead, they've a bunch of players who'll chip in with a few points each,” he said.

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