Nemo Rangers 1-9 Kilmurry-Ilbrickane 0-8

ALAN MORGAN was both the hero and villain for Nemo Rangers in yesterday’s highly entertaining AIB Munster Club SFC quarter-final clash with Kilmurry-Ilbrickane at Quilty.

It was Morgan’s opportunist goal in the 38th minute which proved the decisive score, but he was then red-carded and anything more than a month’s suspension would rule him out of the semi-final against the Kerry champions on November 24.

“From experience it’s never easy coming up to the West Clare looking for a result”, said Nemo coach Billy Morgan. “We didn’t play well but you have to give Kilmurry credit they didn’t fold when we went six points up. Thankfully we got what we came for, but there is plenty room for improvement against whoever comes out of Kerry”.

There was never any danger of the champions losing this encounter. A rock solid defence had little difficulty in containing a very weak Kilmurry attack which could only muster two points from play, while Nemo’s attack, superbly led by Colin Corkery, always had the beating of their opponents.

Nemo settled early and should have had a goal after just 15 seconds when Colin Corkery broke through but, uncharacteristically, he blazed wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Corkery was always going to be the key player for Nemo and, while Kilmurry succeeded in keeping him scoreless from play, his incredible accuracy from frees earned him four valuable points, two of them super efforts into the wind from 50 metres out.

Alan Cronin was another excellent forward for the champions. He possesses an insatiable appetite for work and little wonder that he won the “Man of the Match” award for his efforts.

Defensively Nemo were always on top. Don Heaphy had only one shot to save but it was a crucial one seconds after the second half when he denied Odran O’Dwyer a certain goal. Larry Kavanagh was never beaten at corner back, as with Niall Geary at full-back, while Brian O’Regan continued to add to his growing reputation with a workmanlike display at wing back. Kilmurry in that they were going into this important tie just seven days after winning the Clare county title and, while they were always chasing the game, they could not be faulted for effor “When Nemo went six points in front early in the second half, we might have resigned ourselves to the inevitable”, said coach Pat O’Dwyer, “but our lads stuck manfully to their task, got the deficit down to three, and might have had a goal which could well have turned the game around.

“I cannot fault them for effort. It’s very much a learning process for us as Nemo have been competing regularly at this level. We do only one in a while, but we’ll be back for another tilt at the Munster championship”.

After his glaring miss in the opening seconds, Colin Corkery judged the difficult crossfield wind to perfection to get his side off the mark in the third minute. Michael O’Dwyer levelled it four minutes later, and the sides were tied again at 0-2 apiece before Nemo’s greater penetration in attack yielded three points without reply However, Kilmurry, urged on by the huge home crowd, gradually got on top at midfield through the efforts of Vincent Talty and Peter O’Dwyer and at half time the visitors held a two-point lead, 0-6 to 0-4 after Michael O’Dwyer had pointed two frees in succession.

Don Heaphy came to Nemo’s rescue in the 31st minute with that outstanding save from Odran O’Dwyer, before the champions showed their class with a smashing goal by Alan Morgan following great work from defence by Sean O’Brien. There looked to be no way back for the home side as Nemo opened up a 1-7 to 0-4 lead, but Kilmurry deserve great credit for not throwing the towel. Inspired by the excellence of Dermot Coughlan at centre-back and substitute Michael Hogan at centre-back, they hit back with three points in a row by Odran O’Dwyer, and Nemo were forced to soak up a lot of pressure as Kilmurry enjoyed their best spell. However, Nemo are past masters at hitting a team on the break and Colin Corkery’s point from all of 50 metres out eased the pressure and, while Odran O’Dwyer cancelled it with a like score, Kilmurry never threatened a goal which would have turned the game in their favour, John Paul O’Neill had the final score in the 30th minute to keep Nemo on course to retain the provincial title for the third year in a row.

Scorers - Nemo Rangers: A. Morgan 1-1; C. Corkery 0-4 (frees); A. Cronin, B. O’Regan, L. O’Sullivan, J. P. O’Neill 0-1 each. Kilmurry: O. O’Dwyer 0-4 (0-3 frees); M. O’Dwyer 0-3 (frees); J. Daly 0-1.

NEMO RANGERS: D. Heaphy; L. Kavangh, N. Geary, S. O’Brien; G. Murphy, M. Cronin, B. O’Regan; K. Cahill, D. Kavanagh; L. O’Sullivan, S. O’Brien, A. Cronin; W. Morgan, C. Corkery, A. Morgan. Subs. M. Daly for Steven O’Brien; JP O’Neill for Cahill; S. Marshall for O’Sullivan.

KILMURRY: D. O’Brien; T. O’Doherty, J. O’Connor, R. O’Dwyer; M. Keavey, D. Coughlan, D. Callinan; V. Talty, P. O’Dwyer; O. O’Dwyer, A. Moloney (Jnr.), M. O’Connor; A. Moloney Snr., M. O’Dwyer, J. Daly; Subs. M. Hogan for Moloney Jnr.; E. Talty for Callinan; M. Cahill for O’Doherty; E. Coughlan for O’Connor; D. Donnellan for Daly.

Referee, MA Ryan (Limerick).

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