Superb, controlled football from a rampant Nemo side who turned in their best performance of the season to tear Valley Rovers to pieces in this one-sided Cork SFC opening round tie in Pairc Ui Rinn Saturday night.
This was precision stuff from the Trabeg outfit with a lot to prove following last year’s exit to Castlehaven and they hit the ground running from the moment Conor Lane tossed in the football. And it was wing-back Shane Martin who got the momentum going with two superb points inside three minutes and when Conor Horgan set up Kevin O’Donovan for a goal a minute later Nemo were on their way.
No wonder Nemo boss Paul O’Donovan was happy: “We got a great start to the game and a well worked goal from Kevin O’Donovan. We have worked well in training and although we have not had a great start to the league we have a strong squad with four or five players still to come back into action.
“This was much better tonight, we made some great openings and Barry O’Driscoll was superb out there as well as Paul Kerrigan who set up two of the goals. I have to be pleased but a long way to go yet.”
Maybe so but on this showing, Nemo are going to be serious contenders. They lost the excellent Martin through injury in the ninth minute but they were in so much control Valley Rovers just could not get a hand on the football. O’Driscoll was back to his brilliant best and with Kerrigan in serious mood, the signs were ominous for Rovers.
Every Nemo player was on song and it was no surprise when they led 1-6 to 0-0 after the opening quarter with O’Driscoll and Kerrigan doing most of the damage, backed up by a swash-buckling half back unit that just wanted to attack all night. There wasn’t a weak link in this Nemo unit.
John Cottrell finally got Rovers on the scoresheet in the 16th minute after Fiachra Lynch was fouled. Lynch soon went off injured and it was no surprise when Nemo got their second goal in the 20th minute, Kerrigan setting up O’Driscoll.
Eoin Delaney got a point back for Rovers, but Nemo’s swift attacking play had Rovers at sixes and sevens all evening and they held a handsome 2-9 to 0-3 lead at the break.
Delaney was doing his utmost to keep Rovers in touch but with Kevin Canty failing to make an impact against a disciplined Nemo rearguard, they were never in the picture. Nemo were relentless as O’Driscoll continued to turn on the style with Mark Cronin also getting his second point.
However, Nemo did concede a goal in the 40th minute, goalkeeper Micheal Aodh Martin failing to deal with Cottrell’s high lob into the goalmouth and substitute Danny O’Sullivan got a neat touch for Rovers’ lone goal.
Alan Cronin then got on the scoresheet for Nemo and despite leading 2-13 to 1-5 entering the final quarter Nemo weren’t finished yet. A Cottrell free for Rovers and another O’Driscoll point for Nemo soon followed but then a third goal for the Trabeg side in the 57th minute, this time Kerrigan setting up the excellent Conor Horgan and the Rovers misery was complete.
They did get the final point of the evening from David Lynch but on an evening when Nemo hit the high spots where very few teams would have touched them, Rovers boss Ned English has a lot of work to do keep his side in the top division.
Scorers for Nemo Rangers: B. O’Driscoll (1-5 (1 free, 1 45), K. O’Donovan (1-1), C. Horgan (1-0), P. Kerrigan (0-3, frees), S. Martin and M. Cronin (0-2 each), A. Cronin (0-1).
Scorers for Valley Rovers: D. O’Sullivan (1-0), J. Cottrell (frees) and E. Delaney (1 free) (0-2 each), A. Walsh and D. Lynch (0-1 each).
NEMO RANGERS: M. A. Martin; P. Neenan, A. O’Reilly, A. Cronin; S. Martin, S. Cronin, K. O’Donovan; P. Morgan, J. McDermott; J. Horgan, P. Kerrigan, C. O’Brien; M. Cronin, B. O’Driscoll, C. Horgan.
Sub: B. Murphy for S Martin (9).
VALLEY ROVERS: C. Desmond; A. Lyons, D. Lynch, D. Muckian; J. Kiely, I. Crowley, A. Walsh; W. Hurley, K. Canty; C. O’Leary, D. Lordan, F. Lynch; N. O’Donovan, E. Delaney, J. Cottrell.
Subs: D. O’Sullivan for Lynch (20), D. O’Shea for Walsh (45).
Referee: C. Lane (Banteer).