Luke Connolly showed his killer instincts with dramatic late goal against the Haven

Manager Paul O'Donovan sensed his captain would go for the jugular after an advantage was signalled
Luke Connolly showed his killer instincts with dramatic late goal against the Haven

13th August 2022 Nemo Rangers' Luke Connolly holds off Castlehaven's Damien Cahalane during the Bon Secours Cork premier SFC at Clonakilty . Picture; Eddie O'Hare

NEMO RANGERS manager Paul O’Donovan admitted his captain Luke Connolly didn’t need a second invitation to try for his stunning winning goal at the death in their gripping 3-13 to 1-16 Bon Secours PSFC win over Castlehaven in Clonakilty at the weekend.

The rivals were level in the first minute of injury-time, when the perils of the cross-field pass got the Haven into deep trouble and no better opportunist than Connolly to profit.

Most would have been content to pop over a handy point, but the deadly Connolly had other ideas and planted an unstoppable shot across goal to the bottom far corner of the net.

“Luke’s goal was class. The minute I saw the referee’s hand go up to signal an advantage I was saying ‘I hope he has a good off this’ and he did,” he said.

“You don’t have to encourage Luke to do things like that.” Until then, the Haven had outscored Nemo by 0-9 to 0-3 in a dramatic twist after half-time with Cork skipper Brian Hurley leading the charge.

“In fairness to Castlehaven, they never gave in and with a six-point lead at half-time you’d have thought we would have pushed on, but they came right back at us. Fair play to them.” 

The enforced departure of centre-back Stephen Cronin just after the throw-in to start the second-half disrupted the city side.

“His going off was a big blow and had a huge impact because we lost our shape.

“It was hard trying to get our message on and it’s a bugbear of mine that you can’t get on to the field to give instructions to players.

“There are no maor foirne now so you have to shout from the sidelines and players can’t hear you because of the noise from the crowd.

“It means you have to wait for a break in play, somebody going down with an injury.

“We were trying to get organised, but, in fairness to the Haven, they pushed right up the field in the second-half and didn’t give us the plus-one that we had in the first-half.

“That’s the way it goes and the important thing was we got out with a win though we’re still not qualified, but with one foot there if you like.” O’Donovan was delighted with parts of his side’s performance, but with work to do on others.

“Certain aspects of our display were outstanding, but we need to get control of our defending better during that patch in the second-half.

“We also need to close out games better because if you’re six points up you need to close out games.

“But, the Haven are a class team and any side with the Hurley brothers, particularly Brian, when they start running at you, you’re going to be in trouble.

“The Cahalanes were also powering up the field and Cathal Maguire ran through a couple of times.

O’Donovan adopted a diplomatic approach to the trip by the Haven’s Roland Whelton on Connolly in the first-half which resulted in only a black card.

“It was dangerous and you could have seriously injured a player, but he did it not to injure Luke, but to stop him.

“I’d expect my defender to do the same thing, but I’d expect a red card.” 

RESULTS: PSFC Group A: St Finbarr’s 3-19 Carrigaline 1-11; Eire Og 1-12 Carbery Rangers 2-11.

Group B: Mallow 2-11 Valley Rovers 0-7; Douglas 0-16 Ballincollig 1-13.

Group C: Nemo Rangers 3-13 Castlehaven 1-16; Clonakilty 0-12 Newcestown 1-9.

SAFC Group A: Clyda Rovers 1-14 Newmarket 1-14; Ilen Rovers 1-9 O’Donovan Rossa 2-16.

Group B: Dohenys 0-20 Bandon 1-10; Ballingeary 1-14 Kiskeam 1-12.

Group C: St Michael’s 1-17 Fermoy 0-11; Knocknagree 1-13 Bishopstown 2-14.

PIFC Group A: Cill na Martra 2-17 Iveleary 0-16; Nemo Rangers 3-15 St Vincent’s 1-10.

Group B: Bantry Blues 3-11 Castletownbere 0-19; Aghada 4-13 Na Piarsaigh 0-5.

Group C: Kanturk 3-17 Rockchapel 4-9; Naomh Aban 0-9 Macroom 4-10.

IAFC Group A: Kilshannig 0-9 Adrigole 1-13; Ballydesmond 1-13 Gabriel Rangers 3-16.

Group B: Glanworth 2-8 Glenville 0-5; St Nick’s 0-7 Kildorrery 2-13.

Group C: Millstreet 0-11 Boherbue 2-13; Mitchelstown 2-16 Glanmire 0-10.

Group D: Aghabullogue 4-8 St Finbarr’s 0-13; Dromtarriffe 1-9 Ballinora 2-9.

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