Knocknagree 1-10 Nemo Rangers 0-12
Knocknagree came good in the final quarter to see off Nemo Rangers at Donoughmore on Saturday to reach the semi-finals of the Bons Secours Hospital Cork Premier IFC.
A clash with divisional rivals Newmarket awaits last year’s IFC champions, who trailed by 0-7 to 0-3 at half-time and were 0-10 to 0-7 behind at the water break in the 19th minute of the second half.
However, after they drew level, a goal from sub Matthew Dilworth opened up a 1-10 to 0-10 lead and, though Nemo managed to cut the deficit to a point, an equaliser remained elusive.
Having shipped seven goals in their last outing, the defeat to Cill na Martra in the group stage, Knocknagree operated with a sweeper system from the start but went it for more in the closing stages. Manager John Fintan Daly was pleased that that approach ultimately paid off.
“We’re relieved,” he said.
“We got a huge shock to our system against Cill na Martra, we wanted to get our defence right today and I think we did that. Nemo had scored nine goals in their last two games and they failed to score one today. We haven’t been playing well in 2020, we haven’t been playing to our normal level but we’ve been brave and we’re in the last four now and that’s a positive.
“We rely on a lot on the league and not having games didn’t allow us to work out strategies or build up fitness. We’ve made the semi-finals not playing well and, for a team that was playing junior football a few years ago, that’s not bad going.”
While Knocknagree didn’t allow Nemo any goal opportunities in the opening half, points from Eric Dilloughrey and Greaney had the Capwell side 0-4 to 0-2 ahead by the first-half water break, while both sides were wasteful — each would register eight wides by the interval Twice, Fintan O’Connor should have found the net. First, in the 19th minute, he did well to catch Eoghan McSweeney’s delivery after the Cork star had claimed a mark but then he couldn’t find the target and it was a similar situation just before the break after good work from Danny Cooper and Daly.
However, the four-point half-time deficit was cut to just one on the resumption as Fintan O’Connor, Denis O’Connor, and McSweeney all had points, with defenders Michael Doyle and Daniel O’Mahony playing key roles in the build-up, but Nemo looked to have settled as they got three of the next four, with Greaney sending over two fine frees and wing-back James O’Donovan on target too.
By the water break, sub Gearóid Looney’s point had been Knocknagree’s only score in the previous 10 minutes but a more attacking approach paid dividends when action resumed.
Points from Fintan O’Connor (two) and Dilworth had them level while Nemo lost Andy McGowan to a black card and a superb move involving Eoghan McSweeney, Daniel O’Mahony, and O’Connor ended with Dilworth rounding goalkeeper Luke Towler and slotting home.
While Nemo responded points from Colm Kiely and Adrian Greaney to cut the gap to one, they couldn’t find a leveller and Knocknagree advanced. Newmarket are next, with Daly waiting anxiously to make sure his players on the Duhallow panel came through last night’s match with Valley Rovers.
“It’s going to be very difficult, because we have a lot of players involved with Duhallow. We’ll have to see on Tuesday night who’s fit and who’s okay.”
Scorers for Knocknagree: F O’Connor 0-4 (0-2 frees), M Dilworth 1-1, E McSweeney 0-2, G Looney, D O’Connor, JF Daly (free) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Nemo Rangers: A Greaney 0-5 (frees), C Kiely 0-3 (0-2 frees), J O’Donovan 0-2, E Dilloughrey, A O’Donovan 0-1 each.
KNOCKNAGREE: P Doyle; A Sheehan, M Doyle, G O’Connor; K Buckley, D O’Mahony, D Cooper; David O’Connor, D Moynihan; J Dennehy, E McSweeney, M Mahoney; Denis O’Connor, JF Daly, F O’Connor.
Subs: M Dilworth for Dennehy, G Looney for Sheehan (both half-time), P O’Connor for Moynihan (57).
NEMO RANGERS: L Towler; C Shalloe, A O’Reilly, S O’Dwyer; L Horgan, C O’Shea, J O’Donovan; A O’Donovan, S Martin; E Dilloughrey, J Lyons, A Browne; A Greaney, J Coogan, C Kiely.
Subs: A McGowan for O’Reilly (48, injured) E Mangan for Browne (45), W Morgan for Dilloughrey (56).
Referee: J Murphy (Castletownroche).