Connolly's sweeping beauty for Nemo Rangers

Connolly's sweeping beauty for Nemo Rangers
Nemo Rangers forward Luke Connolly is congratulated by TD Mícheal Martin after the Cork SFC final win over Duhallow at Páirc Uí Rinn. Connolly was ‘fairly disappointed’ after the game despite scoring 2-4. Pic: Inpho/Oisin Keniry.

Scoring 2-4 in Nemo Rangers’ county SFC final win over Duhallow, Luke Connolly could be said to be cleaning up on the field, but he also literally did so afterwards.

A video posted on the club’s Twitter account captured the Cork attacker sweeping the floor of the Páirc Uí Rinn dressing room, but it wasn’t just for show.

“It’s easy for me to say it now,” he said, “but it is something I have done over the past year.

“Anyone who’s played with me would know that, I probably got a bit of flak but, look, it’s nothing negative. I know fellas are doing it now as a joke but, the more people do it, the more normal it’ll become.

“I’ll be honest — I could have gone viral for a lot worse, put it that way.”

Despite the personal tally against the north-western divisional side though, Connolly felt there was a lot to be desired about the performance. That was the case for Nemo on the whole — having led by 2-6 to 0-2 at half-time, they struggled in the second half and it was 2-8 to 0-10 at the end.

“It was a strange one,” Connolly said.

“I said to a few lads after the game that it’s probably as bad as I’ve performed for Nemo in a couple of years.

I was fairly disappointed in the game itself and to come out with 2-4, I couldn’t understand how it happened. At the same time, I was on the end of two good moves, Stephen Cronin took out three or four of their players to put me into a position to finish, there was a lot of help around me in getting the scores.

“The immediate aftermath of the game was relief more than anything else. We knew we had got out of jail to a degree, but at the same time finals are there to be won and in ten years’ time nobody remembers how you played, only that you won the trophy.

“Obviously, we enjoyed the day or two after it but it was shoulders back to the wheel immediately after. We were back out at the weekend, doing a hard session to get back on track.”

Next up for Nemo is a clash with Limerick champions Newcastlewest in Sunday’s Munster Club SFC quarter-final in Mallow (1.30pm). The key objective in Connolly’s eyes is to produce a 60-minute performance.

“Unfortunately, we kind of have a habit of doing it in finals,” he said.

“We’re under no illusions that Duhalow are a good side, they were always going to have a purple patch. We probably didn’t deal with it as well as we’d have liked and that killer instinct was missing, we had a couple of chances that we missed, similar against Douglas in the semi-final.

“A lot of it comes on our own shoulders, that killer instinct and ruthless streak that we need to develop that Nemo teams were famous for. It’s just a case of taking chances, the positive is that we are making them, we’re breaking down teams well.

“It’s just that bit of composure that we’re missing.”

The last time they came out on top in Cork was 2017, after which they won Munster and reached the All-Ireland final, but they were outclassed by Corofin in Croke Park. Their last national title was in 2003, but Connolly isn’t looking at ending that drought just yet.

“Our focus is on Newcastlewest, there’s no talk of anything beyond that,” he said.

Obviously, two seasons ago we were in the All-Ireland final but the biggest benefit of that year and the way we approached it was that the Cork county championship was six games, Munster championship was game one of two and two of two.

“We have three games if we want to win a Munster and this is game one of three. There’s no talk of All-Ireland finals or who we’ll play if we meet next, it’s Newcastlewest and Newcastlewest only.

“We’ve really focused in on every team we’ve played this year and it’s benefited us. We’ll be treating Newcastlewest exactly like we would have treated the Barr’s, Douglas, Duhallow.”

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