Nemo Rangers 1-15 Dr Crokes 1-13
The old saying goes it’s a game of two halves and never was this truer then today as Nemo Rangers squeezed past Dr Crokes to win the 2010 Munster Senior Club Football Championship.
Nemo went into the half-time break with a 13 point lead but a brave Crokes second half fight-back saw the Kerrymen only lose out by 2 points.
Nemo exploded out of the blocks at the beginning of the game, hitting 1-3 inside the first 10 minutes, as the past and present of the Cork forward line in James Masters and Paul Kerrigan combined to knock the stuffing out of Crokes.
Two Masters points from play and a Kerrigan free were answered by a rare first half score for Dr Crokes’ Kerry star Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper.
Masters then took the game by the scuff of the neck as he burst through the heart of the Crokes defence, to show Cork boss Conor Counihan what he is missing, by pile-driving an audacious dropkick into the bottom corner off the net to put the Corkmen in command.
Things might have been so different for Crokes had Cooper taken two glorious goal chances. Firstly, with a quarter of an hour gone he found himself one-on-one with Nemo goalkeeper and captain Brian Morgan who pulled off a fantastic low save to deny him. Only two minutes later he latched onto a high cross field pass to fist the ball agonisingly onto the crossbar.
Nemo controlled the first half in its entirety though and went on an unanswered six-point rampage to end the first period ahead 1-13 to 0-3. This saw some of the large Kerry support that had travelled to Mallow head for the exits.
Complacency must have been the word to avoid in the Nemo dressing room at half-time but it was inevitable that a slump would follow their first half outing.
Crokes were now playing to keep their pride intact and came out and showed why they were champions of Kerry hitting seven unanswered scores with the excellent Kieran O’Leary grabbing two for himself, the pick of which was a fine 40 yard effort.
It took Nemo almost 20 minutes to register a second half score with Brian O’Driscoll landing a huge 30 yard free from the right. Cooper and Cronin would then trade scores for their sides to leave seven between the combatants with six minutes left on the watch.
Mini scuffles started to break out all over the pitch as Crokes desperately searched for a route back into the game but they looked to be beaten men as they were unable to raise a flag as the game went into stoppage time.
Points from Casey and Looney seemed like consolations for the men from Killarney but deep into added-time Cooper fielded a huge high ball and laid it off to the impressive O’Leary and he finished in the bottom corner from the edge of the square to make it a two-point game.
That was to be the final act of the game, however, and Nemo Rangers were able to celebrate an unprecedented 15th Munster title. They now march on to meet St Brigid’s of Roscommon in the All-Ireland semi-final.
Nemo Rangers: B. Morgan; D. Breen, D. Kavanagh, C. O’Shea; C. O’Brien, B. O’Regan, A. O’Reilly; P. Morgan, D. Niblock; P. Kerrigan, A. Cronin, B. O’Driscoll; J. Masters, S. O’Brien, D. Kearney.
Scorers: J. Masters 1-3 (0-1 free), A. Cronin 0-3, B. O’Driscoll 0-3 (0-1 free), P. Kerrigan 0-3 (0-1 free), D. Niblock 0-1, D. Breen 0-1, C. O’Brien 0-1.
Dr Crokes: K. Cremin; J. Payne, M. Moloney, D. O’Leary; S. Doolan, L. Quinn, S. Myers; A. O’Donovan, B. McMahon; A. Kenneally, E. Brosnan, B. Looney; C. Cooper, D. Casey, K. O’Leary.
Scorers: K. O’Leary 1-4, D. Casey 0-3 (0-3 frees), C. Cooper 0-2 (0-1 free), A. O’Donovan 0-1, B. Looney 0-1, E. Brosnan 0-1, A. Kenneally 0-1.