Cork SFC Final : Nemo defeat Duhallow
Cork SFC Final
NEMO RANGERS 2-8 DUHALLOW 0-10
By Denis Hurley at Pairc Ui Rinn
Nemo Rangers are the Cork county football champions for the 21st time after two first-half Luke Connolly goals helped them to see off Duhallow in Sunday’s final at Páirc Uí Rinn.
Before a crowd of 4,610, Nemo were 2-6 to 0-2 in front at half-time but were only able to add two more points in the second half. However, they did enough to ensure that Duhallow never came within less than four points and they progress to the Munster club championship next month.
Cork star Connolly was the main man for Nemo in the opening half. He was on target as they led in the early stages with Duhallow – beaten by St Finbarr’s in last year’s decider – struggling to find their feet.
While the north-western divisional side drew level thanks to Kevin Cremin and Donncha O’Connor in the 14th and 15th minutes respectively, they wouldn’t score again before half-time and Nemo pushed on as they established control at midfield.
Connolly, Colin O’Brien and Mark Cronin made it 0-5 to 0-2 before the first Nemo goal arrived, Connolly with a cool finish following good work from Aidan O’Reilly and Stephen Cronin. Then, when O’Brien won the resultant kickout, he carried the ball forward and fed Connolly, who netted the rebound after Patrick Doyle saved his first effort.
Points from Connolly just before and just after half-time extended the advantage to 11 points, but incredibly Nemo would score just one more point. With Aidan Walsh and Lorcan O’Neill picking up breaks for Duhallow, they ate into the deficit point by point, with Donncha O’Connor (free), Fintan O’Connor and Eoghan McSweeney all finding their range.
While Paul Kerrigan did interrupt that flow to Nemo nine ahead again, Duhallow continued to fight and they might even have had a goal when McSweeney fed Kevin Crowley but Aidan O’Reilly got in a good block on his shot.
At the other end, Connolly looked as if he might end the contest on 48 minutes but again Doyle did well to save and Duhallow made the most of that let-off as Anthony O’Connor – with a goal attempt tipped over by Micheál Martin – and sub Ian Walsh cut the gap to five.
McSweeney’s second left four in it.
In the 59th minute, they had a chance of a goal to make things really interesting as McSweeney won a break and found Daniel O’Connell but Martin made a good save and Nemo didn’t cough up any more opportunities, despite finishing with 14 as Alan Cronin received a second yellow card at the death.
Scorers for Nemo Rangers: Luke Connolly 2-4 (3fs), Mark Cronin 0-2, Paul Kerrigan Colin O’Brien 0-1 each.
Scorers for Duhallow: Eoghan McSweeney, Anthony O’Connor (1f), Donncha O’Connor (1f) 0-2 each, Kevin Cremin, Kevin Crowley, Fintan O’Connor, Ian Walsh 0-1 each.
NEMO RANGERS: Micheál Martin; Briain Murphy, Aidan O’Reilly, Alan Cronin; Kevin O’Donovan, Stephen Cronin, Jack Horgan; Alan O’Donovan, James McDermott; Luke Connolly, Paul Kerrigan, Colin O’Brien; Mark Cronin, Barry O’Driscoll, Conor Horgan.
Subs: Ciarán Dalton for O'Driscoll (53), Ronan Dalton for O'Brien (59), Peter Morgan for Conor Horgan (59).
DUHALLOW: Patrick Doyle; John McLoughlin, Kevin Crowley, Michael Mahoney; Kevin Cremin, Bart Daly, Lorcan O’Neill; Paul Walsh, Aidan Walsh; Eoghan McSweeney, Séamus Hickey, Con O’Callaghan; Anthony O’Connor, Fintan O’Connor, Donncha O’Connor.
Subs: Ian Walsh for Donncha O'Connor (41), Kealan Buckley for Mahoney (44), Daniel O'Connell for Crowley (50), Barry O'Connor for Fintan O'Connor (55), Daniel O'Keeffe for Anthony O'Connor (60), Eamonn O'Callaghan for John McLoughlin (60, black card).
REFEREE: John Ryan (Macroom).