Relentless Nemo dismantle Douglas optimism

Nothing new to report here - Douglas remain incapable of bettering Nemo Rangers in the championship, while the latter upheld a very fine semi-final record.

Relentless Nemo dismantle Douglas optimism

[team1]Nemo Rangers [/team1][score1]3-12[/score1][team2]Douglas[/team2][score2]0-7[/score2][/score]

Nothing new to report here - Douglas remain incapable of bettering Nemo Rangers in the championship, while the latter upheld a very fine semi-final record.

Such was the consistency Douglas had shown in moving themselves within one hour of a county final date, on top of their solid league form during the summer months, Mick Evans’ charges travelled to Páirc Uí Rinn with a quiet optimism that this might just be the day the club claimed a first ever Cork SFC win over their city neighbours.

That optimism lasted all of 21 minutes and probably should have been extinguished even earlier were it not for Nemo’s failure to convert a single one of the first three goal openings they engineered. The winners could even afford to squander a fourth chance before the break and still enjoy a nine-point interval lead (2-7 to 0-4).

As for the second-half, well that was a total non-event from the moment Paul Kerrigan, three minutes after the restart, palmed to the net his second goal to take Nemo’s advantage into double-digit territory.

The winners didn’t so much continue to boss proceedings thereafter, rather they bullied their opponents into submission. Indeed, there were long stages near the finish where Nemo just recycled possession over and back the field, Douglas left helpless in attempting to win back the ball.

Paul O’Donovan’s charges, who, on Sunday week, will bring to 25 the record number of county finals Nemo have contested, held Douglas to three second-half points, only one of which arrived from open play. The point in question was kicked by Shane Kingston 90 seconds into the second half, meaning Douglas did not score from play from the 32nd minute onward. They’d equally struggled in the first half, failing to raise a flag of any description between the seventh and 29th minutes.

Their front six managed 0-5 from play over the hour, just one more than the combined total of the Nemo rearguard as corner-back Brian Murphy (0-1) and the half-back pair of Kevin O’Donovan (0-2) and Jack Horgan (0-1) made their presence felt at either ends of the field.

In every aspect, this was an afternoon to forget for Douglas.

For Nemo, this was a case of job well done. But they know there is more there, and this was very much the tone as the players chatted amongst themselves during the warm down.

It should be noted they didn’t have it their own way during the opening 10 minutes or so, Kingston, Conor Russell, and Sean Powter on target to send Douglas into a 0-3 to 0-2 lead. Kingston even had a half chance for a goal after Powter put them ahead for the one and only time in proceedings. The move came to nothing, however, and there followed a Russell free which dropped short into the gloves of Michael Aodh Martin.

That wasn’t a patch, mind you, on the wastefulness then shown by Nemo. Barry O’Driscoll was the first man in black and green to be presented with an opening in front of goal, 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. Kerrigan initiated the score when turning over a Boyle restart. A neat one-two between himself and Horgan ensued, the attack ending with Kerrigan palming the ball to the net.

That opening goal, arriving directly after a booming Kevin O’Donovan point, shoved the favourites into a 1-4 to 0-3 lead. The subsequent action finished with All-Ireland U20 winner Mark Cronin splitting the posts. From a 0-3 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 a Douglas side who were allowing themselves be turned over far too easily, while also struggling to assert themselves under either kick-out. In this respect, Colin O’Brien and Alan O’Donovan were excellent in spoiling several Douglas restarts.

James Holland’s white flag approaching the break was Douglas’ first score in 22 minutes, but matters were to further deteriorate on the half-hour mark as Alan O’Donovan, who ran untouched from way out, rolled the ball into the Douglas net for a second Nemo goal.

That the half drew to a close with Paul Kerrigan, stood inside his own square, fielding a half-blocked Sean Powter point attempt said everything as to the work-rate tabled by Nemo, not to mind how they organised themselves when Douglas pressed forward.

As ever, they’ll take some stopping on county final afternoon.

Scorers for Nemo Rangers: 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).

Scorers for Douglas: J Holland (0-3, 0-2 frees); S Kingston (0-2): S Powter, C Russell (0-1 each).

NEMO RANGERS: 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.

Subs: 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).

DOUGLAS: 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.

Subs: 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).

Referee: J Ryan.

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