For a long period, it appeared as if Nemo were heading for a runaway victory as, thanks to James Masters, they went into the half-time break leading 0-8 to 0-1, with Paul Murphy giving St Finbarr’s their point in the 29th minute.
But the speed of the game and the intensity of the exchanges kept spectators on their toes throughout that first half, and then St Finbarr’s injected new interest when they launched a second-half revival that yielded five unanswered points to cut the arrears to two going into the final quarter.
James Masters came to the rescue again with a point from a free that was quickly followed by another from play to restore Nemo confidence and they never looked back from here on.
It may not have been quite as masterful as other performances this season, but Masters put most of the points on the scoreboard, although he had a penalty brilliantly saved by Kevin McTiernan four minutes from full time.
Alan Cronin and Ricky Kenny had combined to put Dylan Mehigan through but he was fouled in the square by David Bracken, an early substitute for St Finbarr’s wing back, Rory McCarthy, who was injured in the 10th minute.
Kevin McTiernan drew gasps from the crowd when he dived full stretch to save Masters’ penalty but he could only look on helplessly when Masters ran on to put the rebound over the bar for what was the final score of the game.
Five minutes later referee John Geaney (Kilshannig) blew the full-time whistle but the drama did not end there, and when St Finbarr’s midfielder Aidan O’Shea threw the ball at Dylan Mehigan, the referee showed him a belated red card.
Nemo Rangers Manager, Ephie Fitzgerald had started the game without a number of his star players.
David Niblock, Alan Morgan and Jerry Kerins, were missing from the attack due to injury, with midfielder Maurice McCarthy and corner back Gearoid O’Shea also on the injured list. However most of the walking wounded were introduced as substitutes late in the game.
Nemo had to wait until the sixth minute for James Masters to open the scoring from a free and he had clocked three wides before pointing from play after 18 minutes.
They were leading by six points when Paul Murphy, from a Jim O’Donoghue pass, opened the scoring for St Finbarr’s with just a minute of normal time remaining in the half. In the five minutes of injury time Nemo added two more points from Masters and Gary Murphy.
Centre forward Ronan Curran might have had a goal for St Finbarr’s three minutes into the second half but his shot deflected off the crossbar and went over for a point to start a resurgence that yielded five points before Masters came to the rescue.
Credit for the St Finbarr’s revival must go to energetic midfielder, Jim O’Donoghue, who embarked on some piercing runs that split open the Nemo defence but, up front, they could never match the firepower of the Nemo forwards.
SCORERS FOR NEMO RANGERS: J. Masters 0-8 (0-5 frees), A. Cronin 0-2, G.
Murphy and R. Kenny 0-1 each.
SCORERS FOR ST FINBARR’S: R. Curran 0-2, R. Leahy 0-2 (frees), J.
O’Donoghue (free), P. Murphy and C. O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
NEMO RANGERS: D. Heaphy; D. Breen, N. Geary, C. O’Shea; G. Murphy, P.
Brophy, B. Twomey; D. Mehigan, D. Kavanagh; R. Kenny, A. Cronin, P.
Kerrigan; J. Masters, S. O’Brien, M. Cronin. Subs: J. Kerins for D. Breen (4
mins); D. Niblock for R. Kenny (40 mins), M. McCarthy for P. Brophy (46
mins), A. Morgan for P. Kerrigan (50 mins).
ST FINBARR’S: K. McTiernan; P. O’Brien, M. Shields, R. O’Dwyer; C. Lyons,
D. Newman, R. McCarthy; A. O’Shea, J. O’Donoghue; I. Keeler, R. Curran, P.
Murphy; R. O’Mahony, G. Leahy, R. Leahy. Subs: D. Bracken for R. McCarthy
(10 mins), A. Cronin for D. Newman (29 mins), C. O’Sullivan for I. Keeler
(H.T.), T. Olden for P. Murphy (52 mins).
REFEREE: John Geaney (Kilshannig).