EPHIE FITZGERALD’S Nemo Rangers bandwagon is back on the Munster Club glory trail following a five-point win over Moyle Rovers in a quarter-final tie at Pairc Ui Chaoimh yesterday.
Less than four weeks after struggling to see off Ilen Rovers in the county final, the Nemo boss saw a much improved display as his side beat a dogged Rovers who lost no face in this game played in front of 1,000 spectators.
"It was a game that we should have put away before they grabbed their second goal," said the Nemo manager. "It was never going to be easy after the euphoria of the county final, but credit to our lads they rose to the challenge Moyle Rovers offered and I have to be pleased with that.
Nemo had the wind in the first half and almost grabbed a goal in the opening seconds, but James Masters’ lob was inches wide.
Using the long ball to great effect the Cork champions stormed into an 0-5 to 0-1 lead after 15 minutes, Masters scoring three of those points — to one by Declan Browne.
Browne, who flew in from the States yesterday morning, was the only Rovers forward to threaten, but Brian O’Regan kept a tight rein on him.
Rovers, playing with five forwards, struggled to cope with Nemo’s possession game, and their handling was sloppy at times; their failure to man-mark looked to cost them dearly as the Rangers attack threatened to over run their defence. However, Rovers got a fillip in the 17th minute, when Paul Gleeson’s shot came back off the upright and, in his anxiety to clear, Nemo centre-back Martin Cronin kicked the ball into his own net. A goal against the wind was a massive boost, but the Tipp side couldn’t defend it, and two minutes later Nemo wiped it out.
A splendid move initiated by the hugely impressive Maurice McCarthy at midfield saw Dylan Mehigan knock the ball to the unmarked Paul Kerrigan, who first-timed it to the net. It was simple in its construction and execution and illustrated the difference between the teams.
Nemo’s dominance of midfield — McCarthy was magnificent in the air — kept the pressure on the Rovers’ defence and, with James Masters sparkling up front, the points flowed and Nemo were full value for their 1-6 to 1-1 lead after 25 minutes.
David Niblock landed a superb point from 50 metres out and only excellent goalkeeping by Ian Browne denied Paul Kerrigan a goal as Nemo began to turn the screw.
The Cork champions took a five-point lead into the break after Daniel Lyne kicked a point for the Rovers (1-7 to 1-2), but Rovers were grateful to keeper Ian Browne for another superb save to deny Paul Kerrigan a second time minutes after the resumption. Rovers began to come more and more into the game and points by Declan Browne had the deficit down five points before they grabbed their second goal.
Browne lofted a 40 metre free goalwards and Paul Johnson knocked it down to Padraic Kelly, who billowed the net, and with the initiative now with them they chased and harassed Nemo all over the field. As time ticked away there was still only two points between the sides after Paul Shanahan and Declan Browne landed a point each. However, Nemo didn’t panic, finishing with three unanswered points to set up a semi-final clash against Limerick champions Ballylanders on November 25 at a Limerick venue.
Scorers for Nemo Rangers: J. Masters 0-8 (0-4 frees, 0-1 45); P. Kerrigan 1-2 (0-1 free); D. Kearney, R. Kenny, D. Niblock, P. Morgan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Moyle Rovers: D. Browne 0-4 (0-2 frees); M. Cronin 1-0 (og); P. Kelly 1-0; D. Lyne, P. Shanahan 0-1 each.
NEMO RANGERS: B. Morgan, N. Geary; D. Kavanagh, B. O’Regan; G. O’Shea, M. Cronin, D. Breen; D. Niblock, M. McCarthy; A. Cronin, D. Mehigan, R. Kenny; P. Kerrigan, J. Masters, D. Kearney.
Subs: G. Murphy for Geary; B. Twomey for O’Shea; B. O’Driscoll for Kenny; A. Morgan for Kearney; P. Morgan for Niblock.
MOYLE ROVERS: I. Browne; R. Desmond, L. Cronin, M. Mulcahy; D. Lyne, A. Foley, T. Barry; P. Johnson, J. Williams; J. Shanahan, P. Foley, M. Dunne; D. Browne, P. Kelly, B. Mulvihill.
Subs: P. Shanahan for P. Kelly; G. Moore for Barry; C. Cooney for J. Shanahan, D. Condon for Johnson.
Referee: M. Condon (Waterford).