Rossas finish in fine style

A FOOTBALL treat in Brinny on Saturday, two outstanding teams, all-out commitment and some terrific scores.

In the end it was O’Donovan Rossa who took the spoils, thus booking a place in the Cork U21 AFC semi-final, but it was rough on a Nemo Rangers side that led for most of a free-flowing contest only to be denied at the death.

Despite the fact Nemo were missing five of their city championship winning side, you’d hardly have noticed it in the opening half, though the city kingpins did struggle around midfield where Donal Óg Hodnett and Shane Crowley ruled the roost for Rossas.

But, in the second-half, Nemo came unstuck, amazingly only managing two more points. It might have been so different though had Ciaran Dalton’s shot not come back off the butt of the upright in a hectic final five minutes when Luke Connolly was also denied a match winning goal, his shot taken off the line by Ger Minihane with keeper Ryan Price beaten.

It was in those hectic minutes that O’Donovan Rossa came up trumps.

After Hodnett had kicked a huge equalising point to make it 0-10 apiece, majestic play by Shane Crowley carved out openings which the roving Tom Hegarty twice sweetly made telling use of. And Dave Shannon kicked another point to the delight of the Skibb faithful.

Nemo were outstanding in the opening half, corner-forward Barry O’Driscoll in particular with six quality points. Luke Connolly in the other corner also impressed had a brace, but it was the mercurial Alan Cronin who made them buzz, initiating many attacks and equally breaking down several Rossa raids.

Nemo led 0- 4 to 0-1 after the opening quarter, though O’Driscoll should have had a goal, delightfully taking Connolly’s pin point delivery out of the air before rifling over the bar with a goal at his mercy.

With Mark Collins impressing at wing back for Rossas, there was a bit more bite in their play after Connolly had stretched Nemo’s lead to five points. Kevin Davis, Shane Crowley and Jack O’Donovan all found the target but it was Nemo who were playing the quality football and deserved led 0-9 to 0-5 at the break.

Rossas moved Hodnett to centre-forward for the second period, with Minihane now partnering Crowley at midfield, and they were a far tighter unit subsequently. Dan Hazel was now getting to grips with O’Driscoll as they began to press the Nemo rearguard more.

Shannon had his first point in the 36th minute and Rob McCarthy followed with another two minutes later as they slowly nibbled away at the Nemo lead. Conor O’Donovan finally got Nemo on target in the 41st minute, but the loss of David Nation through injury was beginning to bite and there was only a point between the sides entering the final quarter, 0-10 to 0-9.

It was nip and tuck now. Cronin and Jordan Philpott missed glorious chances to stretch Nemo’s lead; Kevin Davis also missed a great chance at the other end. Something had to give and it was Nemo, Hodnett’s huge point giving Rossas the impetus to go on and win a game rich in quality and hugely entertaining.

Scorers for O’Donovan Rossa: D Óg Hodnett 0-4 (0-2 frees), R. McCarthy, D Shannon, T. Hegarty 0-2 each, K. Davis S. Crowley, J. O’Donovan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Nemo Rangers: B. O’Driscoll 0-6 (0-1 free), L. Connolly 0-3 (0-1 free), C. Horgan, and C. O’Donovan 0-1 each.

O’DONOVAN ROSSA: R. Price; P. Crowley, R. Hodnett, D. Hazel; M. Collins, G. Minihane, S. Hourihane; S. Crowley, D. Óg Hodnett; R. McCarthy, H. Leonard, K Davis; J. O’Donovan, D. Shannon. T. Hegarty.

Subs: E. O’Donovan for Leonard (ht), D. O’Regan for Davis (52).

NEMO RANGERS: D. Farry; K. Fulignati, C. McWhinney, A. O’Donovan; J. Garvin, G. Irwin, A. Cronin; D. Nation, D. Abbott;. J. Philpott, C. Dalton, C, Horgan; B. O’Driscoll, C. O’Donovan, L. Connolly.

Subs: D, Barrett for Nation (37), D. O’Keeffe for Horgan (53).

Referee: P. O’Leary (Kilmurry).

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