Fourteen-man Nemo were clinging on to a three-point lead after having Liam O’Sullivan sent off for two yellow card offences, but engineered a free after good work by Colin O’Brien.
O’Driscoll looked sure to tap the free over the bar for the insurance score, but he failed to rise the ball sufficiently high enough and it took a wicked deflection off a defender into the Killavullen net to secure their passage into round three and banish the north Cork side into the relegation zone.
While there was no doubting Nemo’s victory, the winning margin is a bit flattering as Killavullen, who lost last year’s final to neighbours Mallow, battled extremely hard. However, their decision to opt with a five-man forward line against seven defenders completely backfired and they paid the ultimate price.
Fielding a team with a host of players with senior experience, Nemo struggled to contain a very lively Killavullen side in the opening half. The towering figure of Donal Relihan at midfield and the surging runs of Davie Hartnett had Nemo in all sorts of trouble.
However, the Capwell side weathered the early storm and the sides regularly swapped points to be level four times in that opening period.
The Nemo defence, so porous in the opening minutes, tightened up considerably and with Paul Brophy and Colin O’Brien particularly impressive, they finished the half strongly with a brace of points from Liam O’Sullivan to lead 0-6 to 0-5 at the midway point.
The tempo of the game picked up considerably in the second-half but Killavullen’s tactic of playing only five forwards proved futile as it allowed Nemo wing-back Ciaran O’Shea the freedom to attack at will and create the overlap.
Nemo are past masters at doing that and three points in a row had them 0-10 to 0-7 in front at the end of the third quarter. Some of the tackling bordered on the wreckless and the referee eventually lost patience and sent Liam O’Sullivan off.
Killavullen though could not make their numerical advantage count and it was Nemo who continued to press forward and it took some desperate defending by Alan Brennan and Billy Norris to keep them out.
On the few occasions the north Cork side attacked, their finishing let them down, and the game was finally won with O’Driscoll’s rather fortuitous goal
Scorers for Nemo: B. O’Driscoll 1-2 (1-0 free); L. O’Sullivan 0-4 (0-2 frees); D. Niblock, C. O’Brien, W. Morgan, B. Twomey 0-1 each.
Killavullen: A. O’Driscoll, D. Hartnett, D. Dorgan (frees) 0-2 each; D. Relihan 0-1.
NEMO RANGERS: R. Heaphy; P. Brophy, S. Twomey, S. McKeown; C. O’Brien, G. Murphy, C. O’Shea; D. Niblock, M. Dorgan; B. Twomey, J. Kavanagh, L. O’Sullivan; W. Morgan, A. Hogan, B. O’Driscoll.
Sub: S. Marshall for Hogan.
KILLAVULLEN: M. Carroll; E. Linehan, A. Brennan, B. Norris; B. Hayes, L. Dorgan, C. O’Connell; B. O’Driscoll, D. Relihan; D. Hartnett, P. Hartnett, D. Dorgan; J. O’Neill, A. O’Driscoll, T. Foley.
Referee: C. McAlister (Aghada).