Nemo Rangers cruised into a 19th Munster club football final courtesy of this 18-point demolition of Austin Stacks.
Stacks, who earned the right to represent Kerry after Dr Crokes failed to win the county championship last weekend, had not played championship in seven weeks and this lack of exposure to competitive action since the final weekend of September was evident from early on as the Tralee men were way off the pace here, second best in every department.
Stacks went scoreless for periods of 17, 15, 17 and 12 minutes, highlighting the extent to which they struggled.
For Nemo, this was a stroll in the park, a one-sided encounter that will have done them no use in preparation for the upcoming Munster final in a fortnight. Their entire total came from play.
It was game over at half-time, Nemo ahead by 1-9 to 0-2. The goal arrived in first-half stoppages, Paul Kerrigan, who was so effective in the conductor role throughout the first-half, slipping through Kevin O’Donovan and he rolled the ball past ‘keeper Darragh O’Brien.
How different the game or at least the half-time scoreline might have been had Austin Stacks taken either of the two goal chances they engineered in the opening 63 seconds. Both chances were created by Shane O’Callaghan. In the first instance, he was denied by Nemo goalkeeper Micheál Aodh Martin, with full-back Aidan O’Reilly throwing his body in the way of O’Callaghan’s second drive.
Instead of pilfering an early goal, the visitors to Cork failed to raise a flag of any description until the 17th minute, by which juncture Mark Cronin, Kerrigan, Kevin O’Donovan, and Jack Horgan had moved Nemo four clear.
Nemo’s answer to Stacks’ opening score was a Stephen Cronin minor, meaning all of their half-back line was on the scoresheet as early as the 19th minute.
There followed another Nemo burst of four without reply and although a Sean Quilter free offered the briefest of reprieves, it was Nemo who had the final say of the half through half-back O’Donovan.
Alan O’Donovan added a second Nemo goal on 44 minutes, just reward for the work he and his midfield partner James McDermott got through as they dominated the Stacks kickout.
Paul Kerrigan brought his personal tally to 0-4, while subs Ciaran Dalton and Barry Cripps wrote their names on the scoresheet.
Scorers for Nemo Rangers: P Kerrigan (0-4); K O’Donovan (1-2); A O’Donovan (1-0); M Cronin, B O’Driscoll (0-2 each); S Cronin, J Horgan, L Connolly, C Horgan, S Martin, C Dalton (0-1 each).
Scorers for Austin Stacks: S Quilter (free), F Mangan, S O’Callaghan, W Guthrie, D Fitzmaurice (0-1 each).
Nemo Rangers: MA Martin; A Cronin, A O’Reilly, B Murphy; K O’Donovan, S Cronin, J Horgan; A O’Donovan, J McDermott; B O’Driscoll, P Kerrigan, C O’Brien; M Cronin, L Connolly, C Horgan.
Subs: C Dalton for M Cronin, R Dalton for O’Brien (inj), K Fulignatie for McDermott (all 48 mins); K Histon for Murphy (49); S Martin for O’Donovan, B Cripps for O’Driscoll (56).
Austin Stacks: D O’Brien; J O’Shea, B Shanahan, D Casey; C Griffin, R Shanahan, J Morgan; J O’Connor, M O’Donnell; F Mangan, S O’Callaghan, C O’Reilly; S Quilter, K Donaghy, W Guthrie.
Subs: M O’Gara for B Shanahan (23 mins, inj); D O’Brien for Quilter, P McCarty for O’Reilly (both 38); D Fitzmaurice for O’Gara (48); S Walsh for Griffin (49); G Fitzgerald for O’Callaghan (52).
Referee: S Lonergan.