Nemo Rangers’ ended their season on a high by defeating Castlehaven in the Rochestown Park Division 1 League final at Sam Maguire Park in Dunmanway last night.
Winning the Kelleher Shield trophy should help shorten the winter months and give the Capwell side a much-needed boost as they attempt to wrestle the county title from Carbery Rangers’ grasp next year. Unsurprisingly, contesting a league final at the beginning of December meant both teams were shorn of the talents of many first team regulars.
In the end, Luke Connolly proved Nemo’s standout performer, contributing 0-10, with midfielders Jack Horgan and Alan O’Donovan also playing pivotal roles.
Despite freezing conditions, an exciting opening quarter produced some excellent scores and saw Nemo edge 0-3 to 0-2 ahead thanks to a pair of Luke Connolly points.
Castlehaven hit back in the 15th minute when Mark Collins gathered a Rangers kick-out and fed Conor Cahalane. The young forward raced clear and fired low into the bottom corner for a terrific goal. Connolly and Seanie Cahalane swapped a pair of frees before Jack Horgan split the posts to level the score five minutes from the interval.
There was still time for Castlehaven goalkeeper Paudie Hurley to exchange a quick one-two from a free and float over a fine point to hand the West Cork club the narrowest of half time leads.
Unfortunately for the Union Hall club, Nemo began the second period in blistering fashion, kicking five unanswered points to move four ahead.
Connolly raised the first white flag of the second-half and converted a straightforward free to push Nemo 0-9 to 1-5 ahead after 35 minutes. The city side moved up through the gears with Conor O’Donovan, Paul Kerrigan and Connolly adding additional scores.
Cathal Maguire and Conor O’Driscoll responded for Castlehaven but Nemo continued to dominate with Paddy Gummley and Connolly’s accuracy from placed balls giving the Capwell club a 0-16 to 1-7 lead heading into the closing stages. Ronan Whelton (Castlehaven), Brian Twomey and Stephen Cronin all received black cards in a fractious closing period in which James McCarthy’s side reduced the deficit to two points before a late Connolly free sealed Nemo’s victory.
Scorers for Nemo Rangers:
L Connolly 0-10 (7 frees), P Gummley (1 free) and A ODonovan 0-2 each, J Horgan, C O’Donovan and P Kerrigan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Castlehaven:
S Cahalane 0-5 (5 frees), C Cahalane 1-1, M Collins, C O’Driscoll, C Maguire, D Cahalane, S Hurley and P Hurley 0-1 each
M Martin; K O’Donovan, C Ó Sé, A Cronin; B Twomey, S Cronin, S Martin; J Horgan, A O’Donovan; P Kerrigan, L Connolly, R Kennedy; P Gummley, C O’Donovan, C Kiely.
R McCarthy for B Twomey (BC, 51), W Morgan for P Gummley (57), B O’Driscoll for S Cronin (BC, 59).
P Hurley; J O’Regan, D Limrick (captain), T O’Leary; R Whelton, D Cahalane, C Nolan; D Hurley, M Collins; S Hurley, S Cahalane, C Cahalane; C O’Driscoll, C Maguire, C Hayes.
D Cahalane for D Hurley (22), R Walsh for S Hurley (45), Stephen Hurley for R Whelton (BC, 46), P O’Brien for C Hayes (52).
Pat O’Leary (Kilmurry).
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