Nemo's second-half improvement pleasing for O'Donovan

Champions of 2019 and 2020 beat Ballincollig by ten points in semi-final after leading by one at half-time
Nemo's second-half improvement pleasing for O'Donovan

Nemo Rangers manager Paul O'Donovan with Barry O'Driscoll after defeating Ballincollig in the Bon Secours Hospital Cork Premier SFC semi-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

For Nemo Rangers, reaching county finals is not a novelty but that doesn’t mean that it’s an easy achievement.

The city club sit at the top of the Bons Secours Hospital Cork Premier SFC roll of honour with 22 wins and they will have a chance to make that 23 when they face St Finbarr’s on October 30.

Sunday’s 1-16 to 0-9 win over Ballincollig earned them a place in the decider, with a goal from a Luke Connolly penalty finally getting them away from the Muskerry side’s clutches after a cagey first half.

Nemo manager Paul O’Donovan felt that his team showed a strong second-half improvement after leading by 0-7 to 0-6 at half-time.

“I don’t need to say that what we could possibly improve on is our shot-selection,” he said.

“I thought that we probably missed three of four in the first half, stuff that we snapped at. I thought in the second half we were very efficient, I think only one wide.

“We spoke about it at half-time and in fairness to the lads, it’s a great sign of a team that they’ll go out and take on board what you say and go and do something about it.”

Against Ballincollig’s counter-attacking style, Nemo needed to show guile and nous against a well-organised defence.

“We showed great patience, I thought,” O’Donovan said.

“There were some very good passes in in the first half, but we weren’t getting the support in to the lads inside, Luke and Barry [O’Driscoll].

“They needed fellas coming off them when they were winning the ball and we did that in the second half.

“We went from a lead of three points to six with the penalty and then we finished up with ten.

“It was a great finish, I thought, our fitness levels were excellent and that was key to the success.”

The satisfying thing for O’Donovan and his management team is that the overall performance showed a continued improvement after one-point wins over Clonakilty in their final group game and then Carbery Rangers in the quarter-finals.

They had eight scorers in total on Sunday and showed a good ability to close out the game after Connolly’s goal, outscoring Ballincollig by five points to one in the final quarter.

“There needed to be,” he said.

“Certainly, we were very disappointed against Clon, but the only thing I’ll say is that they played 15 behind the ball, it was very difficult.

“Ballincollig contested the kickouts and played up the field and then, when we had the ball, they drifted back, so you have to give them credit for that.

“I’ve no problem with that – it’s the way we kind of play ourselves, we go back when we have to and we go forward when we have to.

“I thought we coped well today with that kind of defence. We created 23 scoring chances and scored 1-16, I’d take that any day.”

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