Nemo Rangers breezed past a tame Douglas challenge to set up a Cork SFC final date with Duhallow on Sunday, October 27.
Ahead by nine at the break, Nemo booked the club’s fifth county final appearance this decade when the excellent Paul Kerrigan, three minutes after the restart, palmed to the net his second goal of this non-contest to move the 2017 champions into an unassailable 3-7 to 0-5 lead.
The winners were at their leisure for the remainder of proceedings, defenders Jack Horgan, Brian Murphy, and Kevin O’Donovan, as well as Kerrigan, picking off points to put further distance between the teams.
Douglas were held to three second-half points, only two of which came from open play. In every respect, this was an afternoon to forget for Douglas as their wait for a first ever Cork SFC win over Nemo continues.
There was a strong sense during the interval break that it was game over, favourites Nemo holding a 2-7 to 0-4 lead. It could have been so much greater, the 20-time champions converting only two of the six goal chances they engineered.
Their opening goal arrived on 20 minutes, a case of fourth time lucky after three earlier opportunities had not been taken. Barry O’Driscoll was first to be presented with a goal opening, the Nemo forward dropping the ball at the crucial moment.
Douglas goalkeeper Brian Boyle subsequently denied Paul Kerrigan, before the post came to Douglas’ rescue in keeping out Conor Horgan’s low drive.
No question but the Douglas dam was creaking and it eventually burst on 20 minutes. Paul Kerrigan initiated the move when turning over a Brian Boyle restart, a neat one-two between himself and Horgan ending with Kerrigan palming the ball to the net.
That score, arriving directly after a booming Kevin O’Donovan point, sent the favourites into a 1-4 to 0-3 lead. The ensuing play finished with All-Ireland U20 winner Mark Cronin splitting the posts.
From a 0-3 all stalemate, Nemo had put five between themselves and their neighbours within a minute and a half of play. Back-to-back Luke Connolly frees stretched the gap out to seven. It was already looking ominous for Mick Evans’ Douglas.
James Holland’s white flag on 29 minutes was their first score since the seventh minute but matters were to further deteriorate on the half hour mark as Alan O’Donovan rolled the ball into the Douglas net for a second Nemo goal.
Douglas' afternoon improved not a jot in the second period.
P Kerrigan (2-1); L Connolly (0-4, 0-2 frees, 0-1 '45); M Cronin (0-3, 0-2 frees); A O'Donovan (1-0); K O'Donovan (0-2); B Murphy, J Horgan (0-1 each).
J Holland (0-3, 0-2 frees); S Kingston (0-2): S Powter, C Russell (0-1 each).
MA Martin; B Murphy, A O’Reilly, A Cronin; J Horgan, S Cronin, K O’Donovan; A O’Donovan, J McDermott; B O’Driscoll, P Kerrigan, C O’Brien; M Cronin, L Connolly, C Horgan.
C Dalton for O’Driscoll, R Dalton for C O’Brien (both 47 mins); B Cripps for J Horgan (56); S Martin for Murphy (58)
B Boyle; D Sheehan, N Walsh, L McGrath; S Wilson, E Cadogan, K Flahive; B Hartnett, N Hartnett; D Hanrahan, S Powter, S Collins; J Holland, S Kingston, C Russell.
B Lynch for Hanrahan (34 mins); D Murphy for McGrath (38); S McCarthy for Russell (43); B Collins for S Collins (49); L Dineen for Kingston, A O’Connell for Holland (both 58).