Valley Rovers 1-9 Nemo Rangers 0-11
A SURPRISE result as Valley Rovers upset the odds to get the better of Nemo in their Bon Secours Premier football championship clash at Ballygarvan on Saturday.
Having won the 2020 title just six days previously Nemo were expected to get this year's campaign off to a winning start but all credit to Valley Rovers they had other ideas.
Valleys are never an easy side to get the better of, and last year were disappointed to lose out at the quarter-final stage. They showed enough in this clash that they are more than capable of going further this year.
And they did so without their talisman, Fiachra Lynch, who had a hamstring injury and wasn't able to play.
As a team, they were outstanding, particularly in the second half when they came from five points down to win by one.
And the name that will be on all their supporters' lips will be Billy Crowley, who not alone got the winning score but also a crucial goal just before the water break, which put them back on level terms.
In the last 15 minutes or so there were only three scores, with Crowley's winning one coming in injury-time from a 45 which some of the Nemo players hotly contested as being wide.
Paul Kerrigan was one of those and in that incident, he received a black card to see Nemo play the last minute with 14, but despite the protests and slight delay Crowley kept his head to slot over and the cheer from the bank showed just how much it meant to all their supporters.
No doubt having to play a county final just six days ago saw Nemo tire towards the end but there were no complaints from them and have no doubt come their next game they will be hell-bent on putting this right.
Luke Connolly had opened the scoring for the defending champions in the second minute with Crowley raising the white flag at the other end.
Kerrigan put his side back in front, with Crowley again on target from a free to level it again.
Connolly got his second before Crowley was denied a goal with Micheál Martin saving his effort.
Two from Jack Horgan for Nemo made it 0-5 to 0-2 before John Cottrell pulled one back for Valleys. Connolly was on target again as Nemo led 0-6 to 0-3 at the first water break.
Conor Horgan increased their lead before Crowley got the last score of the half to see the Trabeg outfit 0-7 to 0-4 in front at half-time.
Early second-half points from Conor Horgan and Ronan Dalton stretched their lead and it looked like they were in control.
But with Kevin Canty battling hard at midfield Valleys gradually started to turn it in their favour.
Chris O'Leary and Crowley were on target before Briain Murphy made it 0-10 to 0-6 to Nemo.
Canty raised the white flag for his side and just before the water break they were back on level terms.
A brilliant ball from Gary Farrell found Crowley and he gave Martin no chance of saving to make it 1-7 to 0-10.
After the water break, both sides had chances to score before Connolly put Nemo back in front with 40 minutes gone, which proved to be their last score.
Ciaran McCarthy had the sides level again and as the game looked like it was going to end level Valleys were awarded the 45 with Crowley slotting over for the win.
A great start to the group stages for Valleys who now face Douglas in their next game, with Nemo taking on Carrigaline.