Match Report by the EchoLive.ie
Nemo Rangers 1-16 St Finbarr’s 2-9
NEMO Rangers celebrated their 23rd Bon Secours county PSFC title as if it was their first after dethroning great rivals St Finbarr’s at SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday.
A crowd of 10,153 witnessed another classic display from the most successful club in the country with the game seemingly over as a contest when Nemo streamed 1-13 to 0-5 clear after 39 minutes.
A brilliant lob from Conor Horgan caught keeper John Kerins out of position after his kick-out went astray and when captain Luke Connolly pointed gloriously from out near the north stand it left a staggering 11 points clear between the sides.
But, the holders died with their boots on as they reduced the margin to three, instigated by a Brian Hayes goal a minute later and when Billy Hennessy rifled in a second, 11 minutes later, the lead was now down to five.
Steven Sherlock’s free, via the inside of a post, was followed by a Ben O’Connor score, 1-15 to 2-9, with three minutes of regulation time remaining and four more added on.
But, Nemo’s experience shone through in a hectic finish and their composure was reflected in the clinching score from substitute Kieran O’Sullivan.
The opening six minutes supplied ample evidence of what many observers lay in store between the great rivals who were level on three occasions in an exciting start.
Ronan Dalton, who started in place of Paul Kerrigan, showed the way with the first point after 40 seconds before Ian Maguire levelled moments later only for Conor Horgan to edge Nemo in front again.
Then, the holders levelled and took the lead for the first time via Eoin McGreevey and Sherlock in a 30-second burst, but the game took a decisive swing Nemo’s direction almost immediately.
Connolly levelled a third time before Nemo added four more points to take a firm grip. Horgan continued the sequence with his second, Connolly pointed a free and Barry O’Driscoll’s neat side-step led to double-scores, 0-6 to 0-3 entering the second quarter.
Horgan continued to exert a major influence on proceedings, knocking over a third point after 17 minutes and only the post denied O’Driscoll stretching their advantage.
The Barrs were struggling even at this early juncture and Sherlock ended a 15-minute barren spell with a free before Nemo needed the intervention of keeper Michael Aodh Martin, who produced a brilliant double-save.
He first denied Colin Lyons from point-blank range and then turned Sherlock’s rebound onto a post for a 45, which Sherlock couldn’t convert, registering their first wide.
Another Connolly free made it 0-8 to 0-4 after 23 minutes and it was the Barrs turn to be grateful for their keeper John Kerins, who did brilliantly to stop Mark Cronin’s shot after Connolly picked him out with a stunning long-range pass.
The half finished with a Connolly free for a five-point advantage and seemingly with one hand on the Andy Scannell Cup.
That position strengthened in the opening 10 minutes of the second half only for the Barrs to finally their true form.
L Connolly 0-8 (0-5 f), C Horgan 1-3, R Dalton 0-2, K O’Donovan, B O’Driscoll, K O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
S Sherlock 0-6 (0-5 f), B Hayes and B Hennessy 1-0 each, I Maguire, E McGreevey, B O’Connor 0-1 each.
MA Martin; K Histon, B Murphy, K O’Donovan; C McCartan, S Cronin, K Fulgnati; B Cripps, A O’Donovan; C Horgan, R Dalton, J Horgan; M Cronin, B O’Driscoll, L Connolly (c).
P Kerrigan for Dalton 47, L Horgan for J Horgan and C Dalton for C Horgan 53, K O’Sullivan for Fulignati 56, C O’Donovan for Cripps 60.
J Kerins; S Ryan, J Burns, C Scully; C Lyons, B Hennessy, A O’Connor; I Maguire, captain, E Comyns; E Twomey, S Sherlock, B Hayes; E Dennehy, E McGreevey, C Myers-Murray.
B O’Connor for Twomey half-time, D Quinn for Comyns injured 32, C Dennehy for Myers-Murray 45, A Lyne for E Dennehy 55.
Alan Long (Argideen Rangers).