Wily Cronin seals double for Nemo

A GOAL by Alan Cronin deep in injury time gave county champions Nemo Rangers a dramatic victory over St Finbarr’s in the Red FM Division One league final at Páirc Uí Rinn last night.

It was a result that didn’t look likely at half-time after the Barrs had ran Nemo ragged and thoroughly deserved their 1-11 to 0-3 lead, but they could only manage a single point in the second half as Nemo’s fitness clearly told.

Nemo’s team showed three changes from the side which defeated the same team in the county final last month, while Michael Shields was the only absentee for the Barrs.

Just as they did in that county final, St Finbarr’s got off to the best possible start and stormed into an 0-4 to 0-1 lead after seven minutes, Jason Sexton showing his prowess as a free taker scoring half of his side’s tally from placed balls.

And it got better for the Togher club a minute later when poor defending let Roy Leahy in for an opportunist goal to open up a handy six-point lead.

Nemo were rattled by the avalanche of Barrs scores and hit back with an excellent point by Barry O’Driscoll, but they then went 18 minutes without a score as the Barrs took control in most sectors of the field.

St Finbarr’s were clearly up for the game and saw it as an opportunity to reverse the championship final result. With Roy Leahy, Robert O’Mahony and Colin O’Sullivan giving the Nemo defence a torrid time, they kicked five points without reply to lead 1-8 to 0-2 after 20 minutes, and the Capwell side’s chances of making it a league and championship double over the arch rivals looked beyond them.

David Kearney did manage a point for Nemo, their first for 18 minutes, but the Barrs continued to dictate the play and three further points in a row, two by the impressive Colin O’Sullivan saw them troop off at half-time leading 1-11 to 0-3, and worth every bit of it.

Nemo clearly got a right chastising from their mentors at the break, and in the space of five minutes scored 1-2 without reply, the goal a superb finish by Alan Cronin.

A point by Roy Leahy which could so easily have been a second goal for the Barrs forward, stopped the rot momentarily, but Nemo came again and a magnificent goal by Paul Kerrigan followed by an Alan Cronin point, had the deficit down to four points by the three-quarter stage.

As the half wore on, Nemo’s greater fitness became apparent and with Alan Cronin rampant at centre-forward, they turned the screw on their opponents.

Three points in a row had the deficit down to one with the game in injury time before Ciarán O’Shea came forward to fist the equalising score and a draw looked certain.

However in a cruel twist, the Barrs keeper Kevin McTiernan fumbled the ball 13 metres out from own goal and the magnificent Alan Cronin pounced to steer the ball into the empty net to seal a Nemo double.

Scorers – Nemo Rangers: A. Cronin 2-2; P. Kerrigan 1-1; B. O’Driscoll (0-1f); D. Kearney (0-1f) 0-2 each; W. Morgan, C. O’Shea 0-1.

St Finbarr’s: R. Leahy 1-2; J. Sexton 0-4 (4f); C. O’Sullivan 0-3; M. Ryan, R. O’Mahony, J. O’Donoghue 0-1.

NEMO: B. Morgan; D. Breen, D. Kavanagh; AS. O’Reilly; M. Cronin, P. Morgan, C. O’Shea; D. Niblock, D. Mehigan; W. Morgan, A. Cronin, P. Kerrigan; D. Kearney, B. O’Driscoll, B. Twomey.

Subs: S. McKeown for M. Cronin (40); S. Marshall for D. Kearney (40); M. Dorgan for B. Twomey (50).

ST FINBARR’S: K. McTiernan; P. Kennedy, R. O’Dwyer, G. O’Connor; C. Lynch, M. Ryan, N. Horgan; E. Keane, A. O’Shea; C. McCarthy, R. Leahy, J. O’Donoghue; J. Sexton, R. O’Mahony, C. O’Sullivan.

Subs: F. Murray for C. O’Sullivan (55); I. Leahy for J. O’Donoghue (55).

Referee: G. Lane (Banteer).

Picture: St. Finbarr's Jim O'Donoghue tackled by Nemo’s Ciaran O'Shea in the Football League Final at Pairc Ui Rinn last night. Photo: Diane Cusack

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