The city side found Kinsale’s energy too much in the opening half and struggled to contain midfielder Brian Coughlan who had 1-1 on the scoreboard by the fourth minute. But pacesetters Coughlan and centre-back Richard O’Sullivan were eventually curtailed as dogged Nemo wore them down and ensured Kinsale kicked just two points in the second-half.
Coughlan gave his side the dream start with a goal inside 90 seconds. Nemo attempted a swift reply but Paudie O’Shea’s effort struck the underside of the crossbar and came back in to play in the sixth minute. Three points from O’Shea, Jerry Kerins and Eoin Weldon brought Nemo back into contention by the 18th minute but Kinsale maintained their focus and caught the city side for a second goal in the 21st minute. A neat passage of play saw Sean O’Brien put full-forward Conor O’Brien through with the keeper to beat and he duly finished to the net.
Three unanswered points from Nemo’s Kieran Weldon (two) and David Kearney closed the deficit to one on the stroke of half-time but a late Alan Gould point kept the momentum with Kinsale as they led 2-2 to 0-6 at the break.
David Ward kicked Kinsale’s third point inside 25 seconds of the resumption to buoy their cause but they failed to score again until the 49th minute. Nemo’s experience shone through as they adopted a short passing game to maintain possession and stifle the effect of Coughlan at midfield. Two Kerins frees in the 34th and 39th minutes halved the deficit before Nemo hit the front in the 42nd minute with a David Kearney goal.
With David Nation and Michael Dorgan now dominant in the middle of the field, Kinsale’s attack was starved of possession, although Niall McCarthy’s driving runs from corner-back forced Nemo back on their heels. An insurance point from Kearney in the 56th minute cancelled out Conor O’Brien’s 49th minute point to give Nemo a deserved two-point victory.
Scorers for Nemo Rangers: D Kearney 1-2 (1f), Kerins 0-3fs, K Weldon 0-2 (1f), P O’Shea, E Weldon 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kinsale: B Coughlan 1-1, C O’Brien 1-1, D Ward, A Gould 0-1 each.
NEMO RANGERS: R Heaphy; K Stone, S McKeown, K Fulignati, E Weldon, P Brophy, A O’Donovan; M Dorgan, D Nation; K Weldon, M Kearney, J Kerins; P O’Shea, A Morgan, D Kearney.
Subs: E Dilloughery for J Kerins (51), D Murphy for M Dorgan (55), C Allen for M Kearney (inj. 56).
KINSALE: C Hackett; N McCarthy, M O’Sullivan, W O’Hea; D Ward, R O’Sullivan, C Quigley; B Coughlan, D Coughlan; S O’Brien, A Gould, J Wright; B Grey, C O’Brien, G Finn.
Subs: C McCarthy for W O’Hea (ht), S Downey for B Grey (55).
Referee: T Hayes (Éire Óg).