Cork SFC final preview: Nemo have the proven ability to frustrate

It is fitting the decade should close with two of its most consistent teams, from a Cork SFC viewpoint that is, meeting in the county decider.

Cork SFC final preview: Nemo have the proven ability to frustrate

It is fitting the decade should close with two of its most consistent teams, from a Cork SFC viewpoint that is, meeting in the county decider.

Sunday represents Nemo’s fifth county final appearance since 2010. Of the previous four, three (2010, ‘15, and ‘17) ended in victory. For Duhallow, it is their third since 2012.

Semi-finalists in 2017, then beaten finalists last year, Pádraig Kearns’ Duhallow charges will be hoping to again go one step better in 2019.

It was Nemo who showed them the exit door at the semi-final stage in 2017. It stands as the last championship meeting between the pair. The final scoreline that afternoon was Nemo Rangers 5-13 Duhallow 0-12. Nemo also comfortably came out on top when they clashed early in the 2016 championship.

These two defeats, along with the disappointment of having lost last year’s final, means Duhallow aren’t short of motivation going into this one.

And then there were the comments this week of Nemo boss Paul O’Donovan who outlined his preference for the county championship, hurling and football, to be won by club teams.

You can be absolutely certain the Duhallow players, bidding to secure the division’s first county title since 1991, will have taken note of his remarks.

Their hand has been freshened — and strengthened — by the inclusion of Cork U20 footballers Michael Mahoney and Daniel O’Connell, along with Cork U20 hurler Conor O’Callaghan.

On the Nemo side, O’Donovan’s defence, bolstered by the redeployment of midfielder turned half-back Jack Horgan and the addition of young Brian Murphy, has been in imperious form.

Veteran Duhallow forward Donncha O’Connor. Picture: Sportsfile
Veteran Duhallow forward Donncha O’Connor. Picture: Sportsfile

They held the Barr’s to 0-8 and Douglas to 0-7. These two sides were held scoreless for periods of 28 and 21 minutes respectively.

They’ll not inflict a similarly lengthy barren period on a forward unit which contains Donncha O’Connor, Eoghan McSweeney, and the Knocknagree O’Connors.

They can frustrate them, though.

Further up, if they can improve their conversion rate from previous games, particularly where goal chances are concerned, then Nemo, chasing title number 21, will be hard stopped.

Verdict: Nemo Rangers

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