An off day, that was Nemo manager Paul O’Donovan’s summation of his team’s Ennis endeavours.
Yes, Corofin were excellent in the tackle, and yes, their lines of movement when zipping forward time and again left Nemo floundering, but the Cork and Munster champions did not help themselves by turning in a performance pockmarked with unforced errors.
“Corofin knock a lot of ball out of players’ hands. We knew they were hard and strong in the tackle, but we still got turned over too easily.
“We gave away a lot of possession, which is unlike us. There were handpasses straight to them, kickpasses straight to them. They are a team that when they turn you over in the middle third, four or five of them come at you very quickly. We did well to contain them considering the amount of ball we gave away in the first-half,” reflected the Nemo Rangers boss.
Their wide-count, which finished up in double-digit territory, was another area for regret.
“We played better in the second-half, had better chances. We had four or five wides that were a foot either side of the post. We needed to convert everything if we were to come back into it. I just think we had an off day.
“With 12 minutes to go, we had it back to five. We needed a goal at that stage. We were never going to outscore them with points at that stage. Barry [O’Driscoll] got in there and put it over the bar.
“I don’t think we created many other goal-scoring opportunities in the second-half. Alan [O’Donovan] dropped a point-scoring chance into the keeper’s hand; Kieran Histon kicked wide; James McDermott kicked wide; Mark Cronin had a wide at the start of the second-half, he’s been scoring those all year for fun.”
Nemo’s second half chase stemmed from a first-half where they found themselves seven in arrears by the time they registered their opening point of the afternoon.
“That was the gap right to the end. They worked their first-minute goal very well. We struggled, at times, in the first-half.
“We just have to go back to the drawing board if we want to get to Croke Park. I didn’t think there was that much of a gap between the teams today. If you took the goal out of it and had we converted five of our 10 wides, you’re looking at a very even game.
“Of course, it is easy to say that now. We were closer to them today than we’ll probably ever get credit for.”
Corofin manager Kevin O’Brien also touched on the significance of their lightening start.
“It gave us a great platform. We knew, based on two years ago, that Nemo were probably going to come at us in that period.
“That start scuppered their plans a small bit. Then we got two or three scores after that, and it gave us a great platform in the second-half to shut out the game.
“We had that experience. Our game management was very good today.”
He added: “The Christmas period gave us that flexibility to all be together over two weeks and that was a good thing.
“We tried to use it to our advantage as much as we can. It gave us opportunities to train at 11am in the morning, as opposed to rushing for training at 7.30 in the evening.”